We’re all familiar with the YouTube spiral. You know, when you watch one video and then it quickly turns into a two-hour binging sesh. And then there’s the smartphone black hole: You know, when you wake up, check the time, and suddenly you have amnesia because you legitimately can’t remember how you went from reading one email to watching nearly all your Instagram stories. (They’re seemingly endless! How can you possibly watch them all?!)
And — well, look at that — now you’re running late for work.
Social media is hands down one of the biggest — and easiest — ways to waste time. But at some point, you have to cut yourself off, not only to give yourself a much-needed respite from the screen, but also and more important to get shit done.
The truth is, though, most of us are nearly incapable of putting our phones away or ignoring the constant notifications. That’s where these apps and programs come in — to help you limit your time on social media. What’s great is these tools are either completely free or inexpensive.
In Moment automatically tracks how much time you spend on social media (a number that’s likely embarrassingly high for most of us). It’ll also show which apps you use the most and allow you to set a time limit on app usage. Once you go over your daily limit, In Moment will block access to the social media app(s).
You can download In Moment on iTunes.
Similar name, but different goal: Moment automatically tracks how much time you and your entire family use your phones and tablets. Not only will it show you what apps you use the most and how often you pick up your phone every day, but you can also monitor every family member’s screen time. Want everyone to stay off their phones during dinner? Easy: Start a dinner timer on the app, and whenever anyone picks up their phone, an alert will go off. That’s not all; the app will help train you to use your phone less.
Download Moment on iTunes.
With a name like Offtime, it’s pretty clear what this app does: keep you off your phone and focused on your work. With this app, you can block your calls, texts and notifications. Plus, you can restrict access to any apps and take a look at the activity log that lists everything you missed while you were “unplugged.” The coolest part? This app will even provide analytics, so you can compare your phone behavior with others.
StayOnTask checks up on you to make sure you’re doing your work — and aren’t scrolling through Twitter — via a random timer so you’ll never know when it’ll go off. You can use this to track your work sessions too. Writers and students: This app is perfect for you.
You can find StayOnTask on Google Play.
As the name suggests, this app allows you to take a digital detox by setting your own rules — and even take it to the extreme and lock all your apps. Whenever you violate your own rules, AppDetox will remind you to take a break and will also keep a log of all your violations. If you have kids, use this app to control their screen time.
AppDetox is available on Google Play.
Space, which used to be called BreakFree, provides a personalized program based on your own phone usage habits and patterns. You can check out stats of your most-used apps, use the screen-dimming and notification-blocker tools and compare your results with friends and family.