If your screen time stats shot through the rough over the past few months, you’re far from alone. Now is a better time than ever to cut screen time. Shelter-in-place orders set up to limit the spread of COVID-19 pushed people into their homes and onto their phones. Even the Washington Post published a piece in March about the surge of quarantine smartphone use.
Smartphones are a helpful tool to keep you connected while you’re separated from friends and loved ones. But sinking hours per day into your device isn’t the healthiest way to spend your time, either. It’s best to find a balance between scrolling on your smartphone and spending some time away from the screen.
Setting your device down might be harder than you think, though. They’re seamlessly weaved into everyday life. An average adult spends 3 hours and 30 minutes on their phone every day, according to analytics company Zenith. It can be a big challenge to cut screen time for those first few days if you’ve never tried doing it before.
You don’t have to completely cut your phone from your life. Smartphones are a fantastic tool when used responsibly. You should aim for intentional use instead of mindless use, though. It’s easy to scroll for “just a few minutes” only to find that you’ve spent nearly an hour looking through apps on your phone.
Do you feel like you’ve lost too much time to the infinite scroll? Are you ready to take back control of your smartphone usage? These 10 tips to cut screen time on your smartphone will give you a place to start!
1. Get a realistic idea of how much time you spend on your phone
Before you can make a change in your screen time, you need to get an idea of what your use looks like now. You can’t set goals if you don’t know what you’re working with! iPhone users can use the Screen Time feature to check their current stats. Android users have Google’s Digital Wellbeing to offer insight on their existing use. You can also look into a third-party app like RescuteTime if you’re looking for a few more features.
2. Cut back on your use slowly, not all at once
Going cold turkey might feel tempting but you’re more likely to give up if you go that route. Try cutting back on your smartphone use a little bit at a time instead of all at once. When you cut screen time by 15 or 30 minutes each week, that’s a great way to start. It’s easier to stick with a goal when you set up smaller achievable milestones along the way.
3. Disable your notifications
Notifications are the easiest way to keep your screen time levels high. It’s hard not to check your phone when you hear a notification go off. Turn all of your unnecessary notifications off to cut screen time and keep your phone from disrupting you. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok can all wait until you choose to look at them.
4. Set up “no tech” times
Establish a daily or weekly “no tech” time where you put your phone away. You can decide how long you want the block of time to be, whether it’s an hour or an entire day. “No tech” times are a great way to get you away from the screen for an extended time.
5. Make a call instead of sending a text
Although calls may technically count for screen time, it’s quicker to chat on the phone than spend hours texting back and forth. Fewer people make calls today so you might even surprise your friend or family member on the other end of the line!
6. Find new hobbies to replace your endless scrolling
Once you start to cut screen time, you might notice an extra hour or two in the day to do with as you please. Pick up a real-life book, play a board game, try out a new recipe, or play an instrument. There are hundreds of hobbies you can try that keep you engaged with the real world instead of the digital one.
7. Spend more time outside
Getting outdoors is great for both your physical and mental health. Go for a daily walk around your block or bike ride around your town but leave your phone behind. Spending time outside and immersed in the world around you is a great replacement for scrolling on your screen.
8. Keep your phone out of your room at night
It’s easy to sink an hour into your device if you scroll through social media right before bed. Not only does it add up on your daily use, using digital devices before you go to bed can lead to a poorer quality of sleep. Keep your phone outside your room at night for an easy way to cut screen time.
9. Challenge a friend to join you
Sometimes a little healthy competition can go a long way. Find a friend who you can challenge to join you as you cut screen time. The two of you can compete to have the lowest average screen time each week. You and your friend can also discover new activities you both enjoy along the way, too!
10. Celebrate the small wins
It’s easy to get discouraged if you find that your screen time doesn’t end up as low as you’d like. You’ve spent a few years developing your digital dependence and that isn’t going to change immediately. Getting down on yourself isn’t going to help, though. Focus on what went right instead. Did you spend less time on a particularly time-consuming app? Did your average weekly screen time drop? Celebrate the small wins each week!
Make the Start to Cut Screen Time
Cutting back on screen time will make a massive difference in your day. Taking the steps to step back can also help with your attention span, something that affects almost every part of your life. Mindful smartphone usage empowers you to decide when you want to spend the time on your phone and when you’d rather use it on something else.
If you’re finding it hard to unplug from your devices and take back control of your day, looking for outside help can be beneficial. For example, a life coach can help you determine your priorities and where your phone use fits into that. They can offer accountability and guide you towards achieving your goals.
Whether it’s cutting back on your smartphone usage, discovering what’s important to you, or making a big decision, having an outsider’s insight can be a great addition. Learn more about the ways life coaching can lead to positive changes in your life. Sign up for a quick, free introductory call today!