3 Steps to Turn Your Smartphone Into a Self-Improvement Engine

3. Take advantage of your reminders.

Smartphones, especially the apps, are colossal distractions to most people. Polls show that 92 percent of our phone time is spent on them. But when you start limiting your phone use in general, and start using the reminders app, your phone alerts you to focus on what you really need to be doing. Which turns your phone into a focus aid.

The easiest way to start using your reminders is to activate Siri or your Google Assistant, and to dictate whatever you want to be reminded of. If you want to begin your big project next Friday at 2:00 pm, you’ll say: “At 11:00 am next Friday, remind me to set my 2:00 pm alarm for starting new project.” The wording has to be just like that example, otherwise the robot will confuse the times. And unfortunately you can’t schedule alarms past a day in advance. You can also manually set alerts in the reminders app — it just takes five times longer.

To cultivate the habit of using your reminders, start setting reminders for everything for a week: walking your dog, paying bills, even (what the hell) sεx with your spouse. That way when you come across something that you really need to be reminded of, like an important meeting, you go to your phone by reflex. This one feature has saved me countless frustrations and missed appointments.

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