Decreasing Screen Time Meaningfully

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Decreasing Screen time

The Internet is packed with articles about decreasing screen time and digital detoxing, but when will we actually become critical and meaningful about it?

This article aims to do just that. While other articles might ask you to download that app that locks your phone after you’ve used it for an hour or two or to just touch grass, this one will give you tangible ways to think deeply about your relationship with the Internet and how to reach a happier place.

Tracking Your Progress

Yes, setting realistic goals and tracking your progress can work. But who actually writes down how many hours they’ve spent on TikTok or Instagram every evening? If I were tasked with logging my screen time in a journal, I’d cave in quickly because that exercise would eat into my precious screen time!

If you want to set realistic goals about your screen time, you must first be realistic about it; that’s half the battle. Be honest about what eats up your time (social media, app games, etc.) and focus on reducing those activities first.

Tell Others

Logging your social media use can only go so far. Maybe a better approach isn’t to be so pedantic about exactly how long you’re using devices but to find other ways to use cyberspace less. Consider teaming up with a friend or colleague who is also looking to reduce screen time.

Let your friends and family know you’re trying to cut back on screen time. They can offer support and avoid texting or calling you excessively. You can motivate and support each other.

Go Cold Turkey

Some articles say you shouldn’t go cold turkey and totally log out from the Internet. Of course, they’ll say that, though, because doing so would drive their readership away! Let’s be real; it’s worthwhile to block out specific times in your day or week to be completely screen-free. This could be during meals, before bed, or dedicated “focus time” for work or study.

Combining the idea of goal-setting and cold turkey-ness, finding hobbies and recognising the time you could spend better is so wise. Explore activities you enjoy that don’t involve screens. This could be reading, playing music, learning a new skill, spending time outdoors, or socialising face-to-face. The screen suck is undeniable.

Your Interface

One solid way to decrease your screen time is to make your screen less pleasant to look at. Studies suggest using grayscale mode on your phone can make it less visually appealing, reducing the urge to browse.

Likewise, constant notifications are a major distraction. Turn them off for non-essential apps or silence your phone for specific periods.

Remember, consistency is key.  The more you stick to your plan, the easier it will become to decrease your screen time meaningfully. You’ll likely find yourself feeling more focused, productive, and present in the real world.

Health and Concerns

Thinking deeper, reducing your screen time has major health benefits. Social media dependence is real! For many, social media platforms are a primary way to connect with friends and family. Cutting back can lead to feelings of isolation, especially for those who are geographically distant from loved ones.

Social media and news apps keep us constantly updated. Reducing screen time might make you feel like you’re missing out on important news or social events. The fear of missing out is not uncommon. But meaningfully reducing your screen time can help you confront the reality that you lack personal connection in your real life.

We often turn to screens for entertainment and to unwind after a long day. Without them, we might experience boredom or difficulty relaxing, leading to frustration. We should be able to decompress without a black mirror. If this is a confronting thing to read, we should especially focus on finding ways to chillax after long days without our phone or computer.

The blue light emitted by screens can suppress melatonin production, a hormone crucial for sleep regulation. While reducing screen time in general can improve sleep, the initial withdrawal might cause temporary sleep disruptions.

Similarly, some jobs or studies require significant screen time for tasks, communication, or online resources. Reducing screen time might necessitate adjustments to your workflow.

If you want to break the habit you can equally feel bad! Changing ingrained habits can be challenging and lead to anxiety in some people. The initial period of reducing screen time might come with a sense of unease or anxiety as you adjust to new routines. This is totally normal and a hurdle you’re better off confronting than avoiding.

Further Strategies

Addressing your screen time use and wanting to scroll less is already a great step. Schedule real phone calls or video chats to connect with loved ones. Allow me to rattle them off…

Set specific times for limited social media or news browsing instead of mindless scrolling. Find new hobbies that genuinely interest you and help you relax.

Optimise your workspace to be screen-free for focused work. Establish a relaxing screen free routine before bed. Most importantly, be patient with yourself.

Reducing screen time is a journey, and there will be bumps along the road. Focus on the progress you’re making, not achieving perfection.

By acknowledging these challenges and planning to mitigate them, you can develop a healthier relationship with technology and experience the many well-being benefits that come with reducing screen time.