The simple trick to get you off your phone

  • 02/04/2018

The addiction is real.

If you check your phone the moment your eyes open, if you read the news through one sleep-bleary eye, if you're paying more attention to social media feeds than the actual humans around you, we'd posit you're addicted to your phone.

But there's a very easy way to cut back and it's exactly three clicks away.

Human beings are simple creatures. We're drawn to pretty things - shapes, colours and images.

Pretty things are nice to look at, social feeds are pleasant to scroll, and our brains are wired to want more and more of it.

Just like that perfect salt/sugar balance in McDonald's food, and the psychologically enticing layout of a supermarket, your phone and its apps are full of tricks to keep you on it for longer, and coming back for more.

It's why you can so easily find yourself mindlessly thumbing through Instagram when you only mean to quickly check your email for a minute. It's why you neglect to look up when your loved one is speaking to you.

But if you want to cut your phone use, the answer is simple - ditch the colour and go grey.

Mack McKelvey, chief executive of marketing firm SalientMG in Washington, told the New York Times: "You don't buy black-and-white cereal boxes, you buy the really stimulating coloured one, and these apps have developed really cool tiles, cool shapes, cool colors, all designed to stimulate you. But there's a vibrant world out there, and your phone shouldn't be it."

Users who have made the switch say it dramatically reduces how often they reach for their phones.

That attention-seeking Facebook button just won't hold the same power over you if it only looks as appealing as your banking app.

As the New York Times reported, this trick will make your phone feel like a tool again, and not a toy.

Changing your phone to greyscale is easy - here's how to do it:

The process varies for Android phones, but colour settings are generally found under the Accessibility menu.

On IOS, the process is: Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Colour Filters, then select Greyscale.

To enable switching between colour and greyscale quickly, head to Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut then select Colour Filters.

Now you can flick between colour and greyscale by pressing the Home button three times in quick succession.

Bosh. Now go enjoy the company of some actual, real-life humans.