The 5 tactics I’ve Used to Ramp My Screen Time Down Over 40%
Have you ever found yourself scrolling through social media with no idea how or when you started? Yeah, me too. It’s not great.
Screen time has become an increasingly prevalent aspect of our daily lives leading to a host of negative consequences including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health problems. It also affects the quality of attention and ability to focus on discrete tasks. In other words, screen time affects productivity.
Despite these negative consequences, many of us find it difficult to limit screen time. Notice that it's difficult, not impossible. The benefits of limiting screen time include:
• Improved Mental Health: Limiting screen time can help reduce the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. By reducing the amount of time spent in front of screens, people can focus on other activities that promote mental well-being, including exercise, reading, and socializing.
• Better Sleep: Screen time has been linked to poor sleep quality and insomnia. By limiting the amount of time spent in front of screens, people can improve the quality of their sleep and reduce the risk of insomnia.
• Better Physical Health: Excessive screen time can lead to physical health problems, such as headaches, and poor posture. By limiting the amount of time spent in front of screens, people can reduce the risk of these health problems and improve their overall physical health.
• Improved Relationships: Limiting screen time can help improve relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. Nobody likes the guy sitting across the table scrolling on his phone. Nobody.
• Increased Productivity: Limiting screen time can help increase productivity and focus. People who spend less time in front of screens can spend more time on other tasks and, over time, improve their ability to focus.
Here are the 5 tried and true tactics I’ve used to ramp my screen time down over 40% in the last year.
• Set a schedule: Set a schedule for when to use screens and stick to it. For example, set thirty minutes aside at lunch and in the evening to use your phone for social media and stick to those time blocks.
• Turn off notifications: This step is critical. Turn off notifications from social media, email, and other apps that can distract from other activities. This tactic will short-circuit the tech companies’ primary tool for throwing you off of your game.
• Use screen time tracking tools and set targets: Use screen time tracking tools, such as the screen time tracking feature on iPhones, to monitor screen time and make changes as needed. Define your target, say 3 hours per day, and monitor your progress.
• Avoid screens before bed: Avoid screens for at least an hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from screens can disrupt the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
• Carry a book with you: If you’re anything like me, a lot of your mindless scrolling occurs while you’re waiting. Whether at the DMV or grocery store, the moment boredom hits you may find yourself reaching for your phone. Instead, bring a book with you wherever you go and make a habit of reaching for it when you just can’t stand to be bored.
Limiting screen time is essential for maintaining mental health and, put simply, getting shit done. Your phone is an excellent tool to have, but only if you master it not the other way around.