With so many people now learning and working from home, our screen time has skyrocketed to a whopping 13+ hours a day during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Excessive screen time doesn’t only pose a distraction to our productivity. It can also lead to strained eye health, poor sleeping habits, and even diminished interpersonal communication skills.
Luckily, there are several quick and easy ways to drastically cut down your screen time. Read on for some tips.
1. Disable Notifications
Use your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature to prevent notifications from waking up your screen. Moreover, disable the “badge” icons that tell you how many notifications you have in each app.
Doing this will reduce the number of times you pick up your phone in a day. Plus, when you do decide you’ve earned a quick social media break, it’ll feel like a rewarding little surprise to catch up on what you missed.
2. Use Apps to Monitor Screen Time
Most smartphones are now equipped with screen time features that tell you how much time you spend on your phone. You can get a weekly average and even a daily breakdown of which apps you use most and for how long.
Tip: Ignore the apps that “don’t matter.” This could vary from person to person, but you’ll know which apps are causing the most disruption to your day.
For example, you may use Navigation to find your way around town. Maybe you listen to podcasts during a long commute. Perhaps you just like to track your fitness habits with health apps.
If this is the case, it’s probably safe to assume that these apps aren’t throwing off your routine. After all, they’re doing what apps are supposed to do, which is to make your life easier.
3. Impose Limits
Now that you know how much time you’re spending on your phone, it’s time to set limits.
Just like with screen monitoring, most smartphones also let you set limits on how much time you can spend on each app a day. Use your screen time to identify which apps are eating up most of your time.
Then, restrict them. Once you’ve hit your limit for the day, you’ll either get a notification or your app will close itself.
You may have to use parental controls, or you can download third-party apps to meet your specific needs.
This will help you kick any addictive online shopping habits in 2020, as well as cut down on your time spent playing games or checking social media.
4. Change Your Auto-Lock Settings
Your screen time may be going up simply because you’re leaving your phone unlocked for too long.
For example, say you unlock your phone to reply to a quick email. Then, you set the phone down and go back to what you were doing. If the phone stays on that email screen, this could misrepresent how much time you’re actually spending on email.
Luckily, there’s a quick and easy remedy. Go into your phone’s settings and set auto-lock to the shortest interval possible. Then, remember to actually lock your phone as soon as you’re done using it.
You’ll find that your screen time reports are more accurate — and that you’re getting the most out of your battery life.
5. Switch to Grayscale
You’re probably thinking: What does the colour of your screen have to do with your attachment to it?
A whole lot, actually. Changing your screen to black and white will make it less satisfying to scroll mindlessly through social media.
6. Delete or Move Social Media Apps
Deleting social media apps from your home screen is one of the quickest ways to curb your impulses for social media use in 2020.
What is social media? Generally, it’s any platform that lets you connect with others: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube are some of the most common examples.
If you delete these apps from your phone, you’ll have to manually sign in from your web browser every time you want to check them. This inconvenience could turn you off from checking them often.
If social media is relevant to your job — or you’re just not ready to fully take the leap — shake up your home screen layout every once in a while. Make it harder to find those apps, thus eliminating the muscle memory that goes into checking them.
Ditching social media can also lead you to be more present in your everyday life without comparing it to the picture-perfect lives you see on social media.
7. Don’t Bring Your Phone to the Bathroom
Men aren’t the only ones guilty of this. A two-minute bathroom break shouldn’t become a 20-minute trip down the rabbit hole of YouTube conspiracy theories — especially if you’re on company time.
Not only is this a proven time-waster, but it’s also just plain unsanitary.
8. Leave Your Phone Out of the Bedroom
If you rely on your phone to tell you when to wake up, it might be time to invest in a real alarm clock. Leave the phone in another room to charge overnight, that way you reduce the temptation to check it before bed and upon waking up.
An unhealthy attachment to your phone can not only disrupt your sleeping habits, but it can also cause conflicts in your relationship!
9. Cut Down on News Intake
Sure, it pays to be an informed citizen — especially when it’s time to vote. But is it good to be barraged with constant news alerts? Or is it leaving you with a feeling of hopelessness or despair?
As with your other apps, monitor your screen time, set limits, and disable notifications for your news sites. Decide when and how often you’ll want to check the news, and then set it aside.
10. Set Phone-Free Zones
In addition to the bedroom and the bathroom, there are other places where a smartphone just doesn’t belong. At the dinner table. Behind the wheel. At family gatherings.
Establish ground rules in your home for where phones will and won’t be allowed. Additionally, try to plan phone-free nights or even phone-free weekends.
Eliminating distractions like your smartphone will teach you how to focus more on communicating with the people right in front of you.
Improve Your Quality of Life
It’s normal for your behavioural trends to shift as you spend more time at home. But you don’t have to abandon technology altogether to drastically reduce your screen time in a post COVID world.
Even making incremental changes can lead to improved sleeping habits, communication, eye health, and even mental and physical wellbeing.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out the rest of this blog for more ways to take your lifestyle to the next level.