Curbing Your Work-Hours Phone Addiction May Be As Easy As Changing A Phone Setting

We have all been there. It's the afternoon shift at a long and tiresome work day. But instead of grappling with those pesky reports or turning in your last-minute deadlines, you can't seem to pull yourself away from doom-scrolling through your feed, watching endless memes, or simply killing time on your phone. An hour later, you force yourself to put it away. But soon, the magic light flashes and there's a new notification pulling your attention to the device again.


Don't worry, you aren't the only one with a phone addiction during work hours (or any other time for that matter). Going by data collected from 11,000 users of the RescueTime app, which was published on the app's blog, it seems that on average, most people check their smartphones at least 58 times a day!

Here's a little trick that will help you curb the urge the next time your hand moves to check your phone for notifications: just put your phone on grayscale mode. Wondering what that is? It's a super simple change to your phone settings that dulls the colors on your backdrop and apps so there is no visual stimulus coming from your devices.

What is grayscale mode?

British Vogue took the cue from Ben Meer, a personal development coach who proclaimed on his Instagram profile that this little phone setting "gives you time rather than takes it." The publication quoted Meer as saying, "The most productive app on your phone is called airplane mode. Now, the second best? Grayscale mode."


Describing it as a "brutally effective hack", he said that putting your phone on grayscale mode significantly reduces phone usage. This hack works on a simple principle. The brain responds to stimuli that produce endorphins, which is the reason the apps and notifications are so colorful. Hence, by dulling the colors on your phone, it becomes "less addictive and generally unappealing to engage with, as fewer candy-colored apps mean less temptation for dopamine snacks."

While on grayscale mode, the screen of your phone is awash in tones of grays — could anything sound less appealing?! Even more than the boredom-inducing color scheme, grayscale makes it harder to distinguish between apps, so you don't know where the notification is coming from at a glance, which makes it easier to ignore it and beat your work-hours phone addiction.


Even when you do check your phone closely to see which apps have notifications, the desire to immediately click them is thwarted as they are gray and not their usual cheery red.

How to activate the grayscale mode on your phone

Fortunately, the grayscale mode is available on all operating systems, so if you are keen to try it out, this is what you have to do. For iPhones, you need to go to Settings and click on Accessibility. This will take you to Display and Text Size. Click on the option for Color Filters On and that will automatically put Grayscale mode on. You can also access a shortcut that helps you shift from a full-color screen to grayscale and back, quickly. This can be accessed by triple-clicking the right-hand-side button of the phone, but for it to work, you need to configure the shortcut through Settings.


Android phone users can add Grayscale mode to their Quick Settings panel. To do this, you will need to drag the Pen icon in the lower left corner and fit it into the panel of icons, so you can access it whenever you want with a single tap.

If you are not so keen on the gray color but want to enjoy the promised benefits of this tip, you can start by trying the grayscale mode out for short periods of time, when you need to increase your productivity during the day. When you have some time to kill, you can always switch back to the colorful Candyland that is your phone.