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Do you look at your phone more often than you’d like? Are you tired of hours disappearing every day to your smartphone addiction? It’s weird to say it, but the best solution might be an app.

You know that overcoming tech addiction isn’t easy How to Recognize and Overcome Your Tech Addiction How to Recognize and Overcome Your Tech Addiction Overcoming tech addiction doesn't mean ending your use of that technology, it just means using technology to improve the quality of your life. This guide shows you how to manage your online cravings. Read More , and ultimately discipline is what’s going to help you become less impulsive. But there are tools that can help train you, and today Cool Websites and Apps is going over five.

From ways to measure your smartphone usage Addiction, Quantified: How I Measured My Smartphone Usage For A Week Addiction, Quantified: How I Measured My Smartphone Usage For A Week For one week, I installed apps and set up counters to measure my smartphone usage. What did I find out about my own smartphone addiction? Read More  to gamification, these apps can help you fight back against reflexive smartphone usage. Let’s dive in.

Forest (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chrome, Firefox): Grow a Garden by Not Touching Your Phone

Do you struggle to keep yourself from checking your phone? Forest is a simple app that rewards you for not touching it. When you want to focus, open the app to plant a tree. If you want that tree to grow, don’t touch your phone for the next 30 minutes. That’s it.


The mobile version encourages you to leave the app open, while the browser version gives you more flexibility: it encourages you to not browse sites from a blocklist you set for yourself. So if you find yourself opening Facebook or Reddit tabs when you should be working, that’s the tool for you. It reminds me of Productivity Owl, which swoops in to save your productivity Productivity Owl: Swoops In To Help You Focus Productivity Owl: Swoops In To Help You Focus Read More , and I mean that as a compliment (that app is fantastic).

Either way, this is a simple app that visually rewards you for not giving in to your addictions. I highly recommend it.

Checky (Android, iOS): Find Out How Many Times You’ve Checked Your Phone

How often do you check your phone? The answer might surprise you, but only if you actually keep track. Checky is a dead-simple mobile app that tells you how many times you’ve turned on your phone today, and nothing else.


Are you addicted to your smartphone? Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? At one time, landlines and payphones were all we had--and we survived just fine, thank you very much. But now, it’s almost laughable if you don’t own an iPhone or Android, and for some of... Read More  If the number you see on Checky disturbs you, you might be. But you can work to be less impulsive about your smartphone usage. Stop mindlessly checking it, and focus on whatever you’re doing instead. Think about why you’re looking at your phone, instead of just looking at it. Checky won’t magically stop you from over-using your phone, but it can help point out what’s happening.

UnPlug ($2, iOS): Gamify Away Your Smartphone Addiction

If you want more data than what Checky offers, check out UnPlug. This app monitors your daily iPhone usage and lets you dig into all kinds of stats, including how many hours you spent on your phone on different days. You can set yourself a daily limit for phone usage, and earn rewards by cutting back.


The app sports a nice interface, and encourages you to keep streaks of low usage going. If you resolved to spend less time on your phone, and find yourself failing, this tool could help you stick to your New Year’s resolution 5 Mistakes That Make You Quit Your New Year's Resolutions 5 Mistakes That Make You Quit Your New Year's Resolutions How tough is your struggle with New Year's Resolutions? If you are on a never-ending cycle of quitting on your goals every time, these tips should be motivating for the year ahead. Read More .

Productivity Challenge Timer (Android): Pomodoro App That Mocks You for Failing

We’ve talked about how a simple Pomodoro app can improve your life How a Simple Pomodoro Timer Made My Life Better How a Simple Pomodoro Timer Made My Life Better The Pomodoro Technique is one of the simpler time management life hacks. Break through distractions with the help of 25-minute chunks and a timer. It could be a life-changing routine change if it suits you. Read More  in the past, but finding the right timer for can be really hard. Productivity Challenge Timer is a great choice, doing everything a timer should do while also constantly making fun of you for being lazy. If you like it when your apps have just a little bit of personality, and a dash of gamification, this is the perfect Pomodoro app for you.


I’ve tried to gamify my Pomodoro usage in the past: at one point I used Legos as a visual indicator of time How To Use LEGOs To Manage Your Time Better How To Use LEGOs To Manage Your Time Better I think I've found the ultimate productivity tool: LEGOs. Don't leave! Let me explain. Read More . But something about Productivity Challenge Timer’s impossible-to-ignore sound effects and constant mocking of my laziness motivates me more than other apps, as does the ranking system. Slack off and you might lose a rank, which really makes you want to gain it back.

productivity-challenge-timer-ranksGive it a shot if you have trouble sticking to your Pomodoro habit, because this just might help.

Freedom (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android): Block Distracting Websites and Apps

If none of the above tools keep you from being distracted by your phone, maybe the answer is to block the distracting sites altogether. Freedom is a cross-platform application that lets you set a list of distracting sites, then block them either on a schedule or during sessions that you turn on at will.


Freedom is free to use, so you can try it out right now, but there is a paid subscription that’s necessary for some features. There are other tools to block distracting websites How to Really Block Time-Wasting Websites How to Really Block Time-Wasting Websites Finding yourself unproductive because of distracting sites? Block them. No, seriously: block them. If you've got work to get done, and you can't focus because the Internet is too fascinating, make it impossible for your... Read More , but this is the first we’ve seen that works cross platform and syncs your list of blocked sites between machines.

How Do You Fight Your Smartphone Addiction?

We could go on. We’ve talked before about Android apps that help curb your smartphone addiction Enough Already: 4 Android Apps To Curb Your Smartphone Addiction Enough Already: 4 Android Apps To Curb Your Smartphone Addiction These smartphones are fantastic for productivity, really. You can check your email, research things online, read your RSS feeds, take photos, upload them to Facebook, read what your friends have to say on Facebook, chat... Read More , and more than a few times about blocking mobile distractions How to Do More in a Day by Blocking Mobile Distractions How to Do More in a Day by Blocking Mobile Distractions When you're trying to concentrate, distractions are a nightmare. It's time to block distractions and get things done with some free apps for Android and iOS. Read More , but there’s always more to learn.

So we want to know what you know.

What tools do you use to block mobile distractions and fight the impulse to always be looking at your phone? Please leave suggestions in the comments below, because we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Image Credit: hands and smartphone by BLACKDAY via Shutterstock

  1. Jagdesh Singh Jjsd
    March 24, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Thanks for the apps,will be very helpful when doing college assignment .will defiantly try out Forest. :)

    • Justin Pot
      March 24, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Let us know how it works! Just not while doing your assignment, because then we'll be the distraction and that's no good.

  2. dddededdededede
    March 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

    i leave my phone in the drawer.

    • Justin Pot
      March 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      Not a bad strategy!

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      March 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Low-tech solution for the win.

      • Justin Pot
        March 25, 2016 at 3:46 pm

        Yeah, it's been than everything I outlined here tbh

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