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How to shut your phone up so you can get some work done or just a little peace and quiet

Derek Walter | Sept. 1, 2015
Your Android smartphone is great, except when it isn’t. Here’s a handy set of tools to get those pesky notifications, alerts, and other annoyances under control.

On stock Android devices you get to the Quick Notification panel with a two-finger swipe. Samsung’s TouchWiz lets you customize the options available from this panel, so if you want Airplane Mode can be one swipe away.

Grab an app to silence the others

There are a few apps out there that do some of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to taming some of those pesky notifications. QualityTime is at the top of those that I’ve tried.

qualitytime break
The “take a break” mode will bar you from using any apps on your phone for a time period you set.

The app has a clever nanny mode that actually bans you from using any of the apps on your phone for a predetermined period of time. Perhaps this may help you to break the temptation to check Twitter just one more time when you really should turn your attention to that deadline peeking around the corner. 

Speaking of apps, you could employ a more radical solution and uninstall Facebook, Twitter, or other social time sucks altogether. In the past I’ve instead gone to checking Facebook in Chrome. The experience is decent enough, and it frees you from tying your self-worth into how many likes you accumulate.

Sound off!

Lollipop significantly improved how you can silence your device for a long period, like sleeping (well that’s supposed to be a long period, anyway).

With Android 5.1, however, you’re able to set interruptions to “Priority” or “none.” With either of these you can customize at what time the break ends.

android 5.1 interruptions
Specify how long you want those notifications to go away.

That’s a great method for deciding you need to focus on a project for two hours, read a book, or just don’t want another alert when a presidential candidate says something loony.

There’s a reason it’s hard to break away

For all the talk about the impact of being “addicted” to our phones, there’s a reason it’s hard to break away: a smartphone gives unprecedented access to knowledge and the outside world. You know what I used to do when standing in line at the grocery store or during those awkward moments at obligatory family gatherings? Suffer in boredom. I’d rather stimulate my brain by reading news or playing a clever game than staring at the ceiling.

That being said, it’s good to take a break and recharge from all things, including your phone. You may find yourself rediscovering reading, lounging, or another refreshing activity. Maybe you’ll just be bored, but dialing back your phone usage is at least worth a try.


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