Many solutions designed to reduce screen time are focused on blocking specific apps or setting time limits for usage of certain apps. The problem with this approach is too often those limits are ignored or easily dismissed. At Aro, we believe the solution cannot be within the problem and it requires creating space from your phone to truly eliminate the distraction. Not to mention being rewarded and getting credit for the time you spend away from your phone.
Research conducted by Dr. Maxi Heitmayer from the London School of Economics and Political Science shows it's not our phones calling us away. According to Dr. Heitmayer, "smartphones only initiate about 11% of the interactions we have with them. The other 89% of the time, we initiate the interaction. When we have a spare few minutes or we switch tasks, we check our phones." (Source)
It doesn't matter what limits we set on our phones. If we have them, we are going to use them. It’s that simple. Here are a few ways to reclaim your time and attention by creating a little distance from your phone.
"Smartphones only initiate about 11% of the interactions we have with them. The other 89% of the time, we initiate the interaction. When we have a spare few minutes or we switch tasks, we check our phones."
Create a single place for charging
The first thing we instruct Aro customers to do is remove those charging cables spread around the house and to use the Aro smart box as the one place to charge everyone’s phone.
Before we started using Aro, my wife and I had a charging station installed in our kitchen cabinet to clean up the messy cables, but we still had cables running under our couch and behind our bed so we could charge at all times. Despite investing in a charging station for our devices, we continued to use our phones because we could charge in other places. Getting our Aro box was the nudge we needed to ditch those cables.
Make sure your phone is out of sight
A single place to your phone is great, but if it is still out in the open, let’s say charging on the kitchen counter, our inclination is to pick it up or take a quick peek at our screen when we walk by.
The lid on the Aro smart box is more than an aesthetic design decision. Habit formation is all about friction, both reducing friction to make things easy and introducing friction to make some things harder. Even the friction of opening the lid on the Aro smart box to pick up your phone is enough to make you think twice.
Don’t just turn your phone over. Hand it over.
It’s common to see people sit down at a restaurant and place their phones face down on the table. This does prevent those notification from catching our eye, but it is still there waiting for us to habitually pick it up without even realizing it.
My routine on date night now is to hand my phone over to my wife. Her purse is our “Aro box” when we are out and about. It’s a bummer that we aren’t getting the same credit in the App we get from the time our phones spend in the box at home, but the end result is the same - uninterrupted time with each other.