It feels like we are constantly being told to stay off your phone. Younger generations especially are known for constantly being connected to everything that is happening in the world around us. While this connection has its benefits, staying off can also have its perks. Reducing your screen time with these small actions can have positive effects on your mental and physical health.
1. Do not disturb
This feature isn’t just for going to sleep or driving. Probably one of the easiest things you can do is turn on this one useful feature on your phone. If possible try turning on “Do Not Disturb” to silence all notifications on your phone. This way you will have to actually check your phone to see if you have received any type of text message or social media update. This can be extremely useful if you are trying to be productive and want to be interrupted less frequently. How many times has your momentum been derailed after checking your phone after hearing the vibration go off? Turning on “Do not disturb” takes out any and all potential interruptions. By checking your phone every time it goes off, your screen time can definitely be reduced the more you use it. Obviously, life happens and certain notifications are important to be seen as soon as they appear. As long as you can save checking your phone for these more important times, that is what really matters.
2. Distract yourself
One of the main arguments when being told to stay off your phone is that they are considered a distraction. This sentiment is true to an extent with the abundance of social media and everything it entails. So what better way to combat this then distract yourself from the distraction? Take a break from your phone whenever reading or watching a movie by putting it away or turning it off completely. You could even take up a new hobby that ends up taking your attention away from your phone. Activities like these deserve your full attention so try not to look at your phone during the movie or settling down to read a book. You just might find yourself so submerged that you will not want to look at your phone at all.
3. Distance yourself
This might be an unthinkable thought, but you don’t need your phone within arm’s reach all the time. Try leaving your phone in a separate room while you are trying to relax, read, study or even sleep. At the very least leave it on the opposite side of the room you are in. This means that every time you want to check your phone, you will have to get up and walk over to it which can get kind of annoying. Whatever notifications you do or don’t get can wait. They will still be there. This also reduces the chance of reaching in your pocket and endlessly scrolling through Twitter while trying to stay off your phone and be productive. Even if you are not working on anything, it can be extremely beneficial to give yourself a break from being connected all the time. Doing so can be overwhelming, so give yourself some physical as well as mental distance to stay off your phone and reduce your overall digital presence.
4. Leave it behind
Ready for an even more radical thought? What if you left your phone behind…on purpose? Forgetting your phone can cause panic mainly because of how much we feel that we depend on it for just about anything. You can leave your phone and your panic back at home and still be just as capable of making it in the real world. You don’t have to go completely into ditching your phone but ease into it. Start with leaving it behind while you’re out for a short time. Going to class and then back to your dorm, going out for a coffee or running errands are perfect times to leave your phone behind. After making this more of a habit, you might even get used to the idea of leaving it behind for longer periods of time.
5. Keep it face down
This might be a small action to take but it could make a pretty big difference when it comes to your screen time. Once you turn over your phone so the screen faces down, it could help to keep you stay off your phone. If you don’t see the notifications pop up, it will be less likely that you pick up your phone to check. Taking this action could be more effective if you turn off the sound on your phone to eliminate all types of distractions coming from your phone. Whenever you want to settle down and study, relax by yourself or hang out with friends, try flipping it over so you stay off your phone and keep your attention on the world around you.
6. Track your screen time
Since it has become more and more imperative to spend less time on our phones, new features have been made available where our phones will automatically keep track of exactly how much time we spend on our phones on a daily or weekly basis. At the end of each week, your phone will tell you the total amount of time you spend on your phone as well as which apps you use the most. Once you actually see this exact amount, it could have an impact on how you view your phone in the future. You might be surprised how much of your day is made up of looking at your phone. Once you are able to see which apps are taking your time, you can set a limit for these apps. Either in your phone’s settings or other apps, you can decide if you want to limit the amount of time you spend on certain apps. Whether you want to limit yourself to one hour or half an hour per day, limit yourself however you want and is realistic for you.