How I minimize phone distraction: Use grayscale display

Makzan’s Dispatch 2020 week 16

I apply two strategies to minimize my mobile phone distraction: turning off most notifications and grayscale display.

There are many articles discussing turning off notifications. In this email, I share my experience of turning the display into grayscale. I have been turning my iPhone into grayscale for months. I found it an effective way to minimize distractions from the phone.

Since the debut of the iPhone and Android, our life has forever changed. We frequently hold up our phone unintentionally for no reason. Then, we fall into the distraction black hole and come back only after realize that time wasted for minutes or hours. Often, a single action such as checking a work message becomes checking Instagram, Twitter and reading email newsletters and reply messages.

My solution to this distraction black hole is to turn it into grayscale. It suddenly makes the phone boring to look at. So even I slightly get distracted there, the colorful physical world will grab my attention back from the grayscale display.

Occasionally, I will turn the color back on, but I will make sure I turn grayscale back afterward. During early April, I tried for days turning the phone back into colorful mode. You guessed it, I lost time again using the phone with such color and attractive display. Then I turned the phone back to grayscale and now I have more control of my time.

If you want to try, you can turn the iPhone display into grayscale under the accessibility and color filters setting. In Android, I find that is model by model. During the first day using grayscale display, you may find uncomfortable using your phone. After a few days, hope you will start finding the beauty of contrast and shading patterns when using apps. Also, you will learn which apps use bad color contrast on the user interface.

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Until next week,
Thomas Mak