Categories: Mental Health

10 Essential Tips For Reducing Your Screen Time

Have you ever went into your settings and looked at your average daily screen time on your phone? It truly is a humbling experience. I’ll be the first to admit that I have an embarrassing amount of screen time spent on TikTok and Twitter. This list of tips for reducing your screen time is essential for both you and I to follow. Let’s get to it!

1. Set a Timer

In case you are unaware, iPhone has a feature where you can set a timer for the amount of time you can spend on an app. This is an amazing way to reduce your screen time and keep yourself disciplined. Even if you’re not an iPhone user, you can still set a timer using the clock app on your phone. Try your best not to ignore it when the timer goes off and build a habit of only allowing yourself a certain amount of time on your phone! You may easily lose track of time while scrolling through different apps, but setting a timer can remind you that you’ve been scrolling for hours. Remind yourself to look up and experience the rest of the physical world.

2. Hobbies

Personally, I have many different hobbies that I’ve neglected to participate in due to time spent on my phone. Start prioritizing your passions! Whether you like to paint, play guitar, write, work out, etc., try to put this activity in front of phone time. You can always continue to wind down with your phone at the end of the day. You may find yourself feeling crappy due from staring at your screen all day if you’re constantly on your phone. You’ll find an instant improvement in your everyday life by making sure you set aside plenty of time to participate in the activities you love. Remember, life is short – you don’t want to spend it in front of a screen.

3. Routine

If all else fails, develop a routine! You may have a routine set in stone for weekdays, but it wouldn’t hurt to create a routine for the weekends as well. Sticking to a routine where you incorporate time away from your phone will help you get into the habit of putting your phone down altogether. Make plans with friends and family or try to get some chores done over the weekends to really reduce that screen time.

4. Silence Notifications

The apps on your phone like to do this thing where they send off a pleasant (and sometimes annoying) ding! on your phone. Don’t give your phone that power – silence your notifications instead! That way, you won’t feel the urge to pick up your phone and get lost in the several notifications that pop up. Of course, you can always tweak your phone to where you continue to receive audible notifications from friends or family for important or urgent things. If you aren’t hearing your phone go off, you’ll most likely forget that it’s even there, helping you to reduce your overall screen time.

5. Set Rules

Try to create some ground rules surrounding when you can use your phone. For example, keep your phone out of the bedroom so you can get plenty of rest (you can still set a loud alarm to wake up – just put your phone in another nearby room!). You can also try to stay off of your phone while you’re eating. This is a particularly good rule of thumb for when you’re going out to dinner with friends or having dinner with your significant other. That way, you’ll be able to spend more quality time with your loved ones rather than giving into the urge to look at your phone.

6. Phone Down 30 Minutes Before Bed

Maybe your screen time is messing with your sleep schedule. If that’s the case, try to put your phone down 30 minutes before bed. If you own an iPhone, you can even turn “night shift” on for your screen settings when it gets closer to bedtime. “Night shift” changes your phone screen from blue light to amber light, making it easier on the eyes and encouraging you to get tired. Instead of mindlessly scrolling until the sun comes up, consider putting your phone away before you go to sleep and try to resist the urge to grab it.

7. Live in the Moment

It’s difficult to resist the urge to get your phone out and snap some pics when you’re attending a fun event. Maybe you want to get the perfect pictures for Instagram, or maybe you’re scared the memory will fade away. These are both entirely normal urges to feel – however, I assure you that by living in the moment, you’ll find the entire experience much more enriching. Pulling your phone out every two seconds at a concert will have you focusing more on the pictures and videos rather than just living and taking in the moment itself. Think about the fond adventures your grandparents have told you about. They didn’t have a phone distracting them during these memories! Consider limiting yourself to one or two photos, then make it a rule of thumb to put your phone down for the rest of the night.

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8. Buddy System

If reducing your screen time on your own feels a bit too daunting, consider recruiting a friend to do the same! You can both hold each other accountable by creating a set of rules to follow when it comes to the amount of time you’re spending on your phone. Having a friend participate with you will allow you to feel more motivated and strengthen the chances that you actually stick to this habit. You can even try to recruit your entire friend group. You’ll all find that life is much more enjoyable when you’re spending more and more time away from a screen.

9. No Phone on Vacations

Vacations are a time to relax and unwind. This may seem like the ideal time to use your phone, but try not to use it at all! When you travel somewhere new, you should be immersing yourself in the culture and exploring the world around you. Leave your phone behind in the hotel room when you’re going out for the day. By leaving it in a different location altogether, you’re eliminating the desire to check your phone or take an influx of photos rather than just experiencing the moment for what it is. By doing this, you can also focus more on your friends and family – and you can even encourage them to do the same!

10. Social Media Cleanse

A while back, I decided to delete every form of social media on my phone and stay off of it for a week. And let me tell you… It was freeing. In the age of social media, it’s easy to scroll and compare yourself to others based on their photos and statuses. This can have a huge impact on your mental health, whether you realize it or not. Consider cleansing yourself of all social media. You can do this for a few days, a week, a couple months, or even the rest of your life if you wanted to! By watching others post on social media, you may find yourself feeling the temptation to post about your life as well to portray a certain image. There’s something incredibly freeing about not letting others know what you are up to. Reduce your screen time by deleting those apps and living life for yourself rather than living for the approval of others.

Reducing your screen time can impact your mental health in many positive ways. Are you going to accept the challenge of spending time away from your phone?

Featured Image Source: https://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2016/09/01/t-magazine/fashion/a-morning-in-chelsea-with-the-skate-kitchen.html?mwrsm=Pinterest
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Sarah Richards

Sarah is a recent Virginia Tech graduate with a Bachelors in Creative Writing and Psychology.

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