Are you looking for ways to avoid the digital spiral that consumes too much of your time each day? You’re not alone. Considering that Americans are scrolling, texting, posting and getting lost in cat videos approximately 52 times each day, according to Deloitte, it makes sense that most smartphone users could do with a little less screen time. The following tips will help you unplug.
Define your ideal relationship
To succeed at unplugging more often, you need to set a concrete goal. A vague wish to limit your screen time will not be effective, Catherine Price, author of “How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life,” reports on Time.com. Instead, she advises taking a moment to determine what your ideal smartphone relationship should be by answering these poignant questions:
“What things do you do on your phone that make you feel good? Which activities make you feel bad? What behaviors or habits would you like to change?”
Calculate your screen time
Unless you know how much time you’re spending (wasting) on your smartphone, you won’t know how much time you need to get back with the limits you set. Although it seems counterintuitive to use your smartphone on your quest to use your phone less, apps that monitor your screen time and set limits can actually help you tear your attention away from your digital device.
Once you know how much time you spend staring at a screen, Inc. writer Yazin Akkawi suggests using Moment or SPACE, two apps designed to balance and/or break your unhealthy dependency. OFFTIME allows you to block messages or notifications when you’re trying to focus. Flipd tracks your time, blocks distractions and offers a Wellness Hub to help you become more productive.
Start your day screen-free
Although your smartphone is capable of waking you up in the morning, you’re better off using an old school alarm clock or a modern, sunlight-replicating machine. Anything but your smartphone. According to PC Mag writer Rob Marvin, using your smartphone as your alarm clock reinforces the need to have it close to you, which facilitates easy access to more screen time. He also recommends charging your phone far away from where you lay your head so middle-of-the-night screen checks aren’t possible.
Unfriend social media apps
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are best digested in small bites. Unfortunately, most users devour the unlimited content without ever getting full. If you find yourself mindlessly liking, clicking and posting, you might need to do something drastic like deleting the app from your phone, suggests Marvin.
Picture a screen-free schedule
Don’t look at limiting screen time as a sacrifice, but as a gift — a gift of free time that you can use however you want, writes Price. Dedicate the time you’d normally spend on your phone to a new activity or favorite hobby you’ve abandoned. Plan ahead to make the most of your newfound time. She notes that a book on your coffee table instead of your phone will encourage you to read more, and making time for friends is easier when you schedule an outing.
A smartphone is a powerful tool, and in many ways, it can make life easier. But when you find yourself losing hours glued to the screen, any benefits quickly disappear. Use these tips to help limit your smartphone time.