How you can reduce your screen time.

Hey you! Put your phone, tablet, or laptop away! (But read this blog first)

Today’s technology has greatly improved the publics’ productivity, provided endless information, and greatly enhanced how we are able to communicate with others. 

But, on the other hand, it has also become very distracting and can get in the way of your creative thinking. What’s even worse, many are beginning to say we are addicted to technology. This is far from ideal for our mental and physical health. 

According to a Nielsen Company audience report, the average person in the United States spends approximately 10 hours and 39 minutes each day looking at screens. This average includes our daily use of smartphones, computers, video games, radios, tablets, and TVs. This report was from 2016, mind you. I have no doubts that these numbers are much higher today.

Unsurprisingly, it’s incredibly bad for your health to be looking at screens so much. It can cause vision problems, impact your sleep, as well as encourage a sedentary lifestyle. How many times have you gone down the rabbit hole on Instagram, Facebook, or youtube? Do you ever feel better after wasting so much time doing that? I think not.

There is no such thing as a healthy amount of screen time. Obviously the less, the better. If you find that your eyes are strained, you have bad posture, neck pain, even anxiety or depression, then you may need to work on reducing your screen time. That’s totally possible by implementing some of the following strategies.

Activate screen time/digital wellbeing

Both Apple and Android have interfaces that were created to combat people’s obsessions with their phones. These features display data all about how you are using your phone, where you spend your time, and how many times you are picking up your phone.

These interfaces allow you to block certain apps during specific periods of time and it can be a great tool to disconnect you from social media before you go to sleep. Activating these features on your phone is the first step in the right direction of reducing your screen time.

Carry a book with you

If you are carrying a book with you, you will always have another option for something to do when you might usually grab your phone. Make it a habit to carry one with you wherever you go. You get the double perk of reading more as well as reducing your screen time!

What about ebooks you ask? While they are convenient, it can still be tempting to click away from your story to look at Facebook or Instagram. So, physical reading is the preferred method here. Audiobooks are also another great option if you don’t want to carry a book or have a hard time reading. 

Don’t bring your phone into your bedroom, bathroom, or have it at the dinner table

Many of us (myself included) use our phones as alarms clocks. This means they are the last thing we see at night and the first thing in the morning. Some studies show that looking at social media 30 minutes before bed leads to disturbed sleep. While this might seem pretty obvious, have you done anything about this yet? 

Even if you aren’t scrolling through social media and are instead trying to do something productive, the blue light exposure will still disrupt the quality of your sleep. Furthermore, when you grab your phone to turn the alarm off, you may start scrolling through emails or social media. This results in you laying there longer than you want to and potentially adds to your stress. Don’t do that. Charge your phone outside of your room overnight.

Where else should you not bring your phone? The bathroom. It’s unhygienic and distracts you from doing your business and is unproductive. Think of all the other things you could be doing with that time you waste sitting there scrolling.

The last place (at least for this list) you shouldn’t be using your phone is the dinner table or wherever you eat. It is not polite and disrespectful to the people you may be eating with. Use that time to be with your friends/family.

Leave your phone behind

It’s okay to not bring your phone with you wherever you go! This may frighten some because of FOMO. The world will go on no matter what. You do not need to have your phone on you at all times of the day. Time block certain parts of your day where you want to be device-free. And start small! It doesn’t have to be hours at a time. Start with 10-15 min and work your way up.

Purge phone of useless apps

Is your phone full of many different apps? Games, shopping, tv shows, and more? Give yourself less of a reason to check your phone by removing these apps that you either never use or tempts you into mindless usage. Obviously keep the essentials like Google maps, social media apps that you use to communicate, a news app, and more. What is not essential is Candy crush or the 4 other knock-off versions that you also downloaded. Get rid of what you don’t need!

Pick up a hobby

To combat boredness when you don’t have much to do, picking up a new hobby is something that doesn’t always require looking at a screen. Reading a book, physical activity, or crafts are great things you can do during downtime. It’s easy to grab your phone or laptop when its the weekend and the weather isn’t nice and mindlessly browse. So find something else to distract yourself!

These are just a few tips for ways to limit your screen time. The benefits are infinite and will allow you to be more present with your friends and loved ones, allow you to read or exercise more. You may find it helps you feel calmer, less stressed, and much happier overall! Give a few of these a try and see how much it helps!

Matt Kaitchuck

Coach/OnBoarding Specialist