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Five Steps to Help Decrease Your Screen Time

No Phone? No Problem!

With winter approaching and most of us still confined to our homes, there seems to be little to do other than stare at our screens all day. With social media, digital games, and our favorite apps all in one place, it’s hard not to derive most of our entertainment from our phones, but there are downsides, too. Eye strain, bad posture, sleep disturbances, and a troubled mind are a few examples of what can become of too much screen time. It can be hard to put your phone down, especially when we have no real plans anymore. But it can, and should, be done.

We all need a break from the neverending news cycle and diving into other people’s seemingly perfect lives, but how? It turns out, having a clear plan makes digital detoxing easy! Here are five simple steps to help you decrease your screen time, and maybe pick up a few helpful habits along the way.

Make a Schedule and Stick To It

It’s not uncommon for your phone to be vital to your job, so sometimes using it is absolutely necessary. However, to ensure you’re not spending too much time scrolling through nonsense when you don’t need to be, think about when being away from your device(s) would be most beneficial to you. When are the most disruptive times to be on your phone during the day? Maybe your phone isn’t necessary to do your job and you find yourself on Instagram when you should be putting a presentation together. Or maybe you keep your phone face up and right beside your plate while you’re having dinner with your family. Figure out and schedule when you need to disconnect and be present. If you practice stepping away from your phone during those times, you and the people around you will be thankful for it.

Pick Up a New Hobby

Sure, you can stuff your phone in your sock drawer and walk away thinking you’ve solved your problem, but if there’s nothing to do, chances are you’ll be back for it in no time. So find a hobby or a project – especially one that keeps your hands busy. Does a room need painting? Paint it! The temperature’s dropping, so make yourself a hat and mittens in your favorite color. Instead of ordering in again, cook yourself an elaborate dinner or spend the weekend meal prepping. If your hands are preoccupied for a significant chunk of time, you’re guaranteed to be off your phone for a while. Make sure to work these hobbies into your previously mentioned schedule, that way you’re completely prepared.

Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

How many of your apps do you actually use on a regular basis? How many do you keep around “just in case”? If you’ve forgotten about that photo editor or voice changer you never deleted, it’s probably not a bad idea to just get rid of them. Take the time to go through and rid your phone of those unnecessary applications and anything that could potentially waste your time. In addition to that, really think about why you’re picking up your phone when you do. What do you need from it right now? There’s nothing wrong with a little mindless entertainment every once in a while, but that shouldn’t be the only reason you give your screen attention – and strain your eyes in the process!

Just hear us out… USE YOUR PHONE!

It may sound counterintuitive, but our phones actually have some great features to control our usage. If you have the ability, set a daily time limit for your most frequently visited apps. Your phone should send you a message to let you know when you’ve run out of time for the day, and just knowing you have a limit may help you stay away. You should also make use of any Do Not Disturb features your device has, so your phone will remain silent during set periods of time like while you’re asleep (if you don’t turn it off overnight). There are, of course, exceptions you can include – like who you’d like to still receive notifications from – in case of an emergency during that time. Finally, reduce your push notifications! How many times does one ding! lead to a whole hour of scrolling? Do you really need to know who liked your photo right away, or if your favorite game just added new features? Reassess what updates are most important to you and change your notification settings accordingly.

Hold Yourself Accountable

This detox isn’t going to work if you convince yourself a bend in the rules every now and then is okay. Take responsibility and stick to your plan. Better yet, share your plan with others so they can help keep you on the path to success. The more people there are to support you, the more likely you are to see it through. Don’t feel discouraged if you spend 4+ hours on TikTok one day, just recognize your oversight and keep making up for it as you go.

Now that you’re prepared and ready for your digital detox, get off your phone and get started!

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