Are you the type of person who just finds it hard to put down your phone, even when you have other important things to do? Well, this technology we take for granted is actually designed to reel us in as much as possible. Reached the end of a social media feed? Pull down to refresh and voila, a new set of fresh content of memes and status updates is waiting for your attention.
We live in an age when we are so reliant on our mobile devices. Of course you are probably reading this very article on your phone, tablet or laptop. We can’t deny the gazillions of benefits and conveniences of having these electronics around us. But sometimes, we just loose control of our time and a digital screen simply becomes a distraction rather than a useful tool. It’s even harder for us to give up the phone right before bed, cutting down on important slumber hours. You’re not alone. As we’ve said, these apps and gadgets are somehow configured to hold our attention. And having less screen time can be a challenge. But with a little discipline, maybe we can help you opt-out of being addicted to your smartphones and other distracting screens.
Limiting screen time 101
Before you begin with the effort, you might blurt out, “It’s impossible!” But don’t be discouraged, it is actually achievable. Just keep in mind why you should give up your smartphone time. There are several good reasons for having less screen time, and here’s a couple of them.
First, you get to manage your time better. If you put down your phone, you might be able to make time for other things more worthy of your attention. How about the art project you’ve long been putting off for a while because of your series binge? Or some gardening you can’t do because of too many memes? Maybe some quality time with the family? And also, more sleep!
Another reason is you are doing your physical self a favor. In terms of sight, staring at screens for longer times could not only affect your vision but also hurt your neck or even posture. Moreover, when you are using your phones, your tendency is to just sit down, causing fewer physical movements or activities in a day.
So how to start? Read on and try these tricks and tips.
How to limit screen time for yourself? Take advantage of the tech. It may sound ironic but one of the best tips we can give is to work with your phone. The good thing is these giant phone makers are actually becoming more aware of consumers’ addiction to screens. So, they added new features to track your time spent on apps (like Screen Time for iOS or Digital Wellbeing for Android). These screen time tracking options can actually help you manage how you spend your phone such as intentionally dimming an app when a time limit is reached. You can even lock the app too. Check your stats and figure out which apps you spend the most time on, and begin to limit there. There are also a whole bunch of similar third-party applications out there that are dedicated to the purpose of tracking your mobile use.
Silence or tone down
What we mean is to adjust the notifications you get from apps. There are settings to limit how many of those push notifications alert you. These mini-pop-ups may appear to be small and quick, but they are actually effective in luring us into the app. When you limit the nonessential or distracting apps, there’s a higher chance of not missing the more important messages. On the other hand, you can also set your screen to show grayscale, or reduce the blue light. You still get to be informed but there is less chance of you sticking to an app for longer times. Try this setting especially before bed, so you won’t be much engaged, and would definitely not make you more awake.
We’ve mentioned that one of the benefits of reduced screen time is more time for other stuff. How about intentionally allocating your time to other more worthwhile activities? For example, if you are spending over an hour on social media apps, you try a new health recipe or declutter your space. Think about function over form. Delete or uninstall apps that have really no gain on you. Okay, keep some social media apps to keep in touch (Ask yourself: do you really need it all?). You’re not only doing yourself a favor, but you’re also considering your phone’s longevity, too.
Now you know some simple hacks on how to limit screen time for yourself. Remember that when you give up your smartphone, you are taking control of it, and not the other way around. We don’t mean to throw away your phones, we actually love our own! But too much of something is not always good. If you manage to have less screen time, you’d realize you can make time for other more meaningful activities. And even get the rest that you deserve.