Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Okay, let’s get real, how many hours in a day do you think you spent looking at screens?
For me, the answer is roughly 13 hours. Can you believe it? 13 HOURS?!
So this is how I calculate it:
5 hours on my phone
6 hours on computer at work
2 hours on my laptop working on videos, blogs, and writing
I usually sleep for 8 hours, so that leaves me with only 3 hours being awake without looking at screens.
That’s startling because now I feel like my whole life revolves around screens. I want to spend more time in nature, with family and friends, with people, or doing the things that’s beneficial to my well-being. I realized that I spent way too much time online and I must improve my habits by reducing the time I interact with screens. If you’re going through the same thing, this article is for you!
Here is the 5 ways to limit your use of technology effectively:
1. Set a limit on screen time
If you use an iPhone, you can easily see how much time you spend on your phone in a day. For me, my daily average is about 5 hours. That’s probably higher than average but again, I’m a blogger so it makes sense. However, I’m trying to bring it down. My goal right now is 4 hours/ day. On iPhone, you can also set a limit on certain apps that you know you usually spend significant time on. For me, it’s Youtube and Instagram. I set a 1-hour limit on Instagram and 2-hour limit on Youtube just so I don’t binge watch too much or get lost in the unlimited world of online content.
2. Set a curfew
I try to have a curfew by 10pm to have no electronics or technology, but again, I’m guilty of just picking up the phone out of habits/ boredom. I recently replace it with reading (hyperlink) and find that it helps tremendously with winding down and falling asleep faster. My sleep tends to be deeper and more restful if I don’t look at screens for at least 30 minutes before bed.
3. Don’t sleep or wake up with your phone
Go hand in hand with the third tip, try to have at least 30 minutes to an hour screen-free before you go to bed. This will eliminate the exposure to blue light, which was proven to suppress your melatonin production (a hormone that helps you fall asleep). That’s why when you look at your phone screen right before bed, you may have a hard time falling asleep after.
A quick tip for you: if you HAVE TO use your phone before bed, always turn on “Night mode” so your screen changes its color to a warm undertone. I set it up automatically on my iPhone so the screen turns yellow after 8pm everyday. If your phone screen is yellow, it makes you sleepy, and that’ll help you fall asleep even faster.
After a restful sleep. You don’t want to looking at your phone be the first thing you do after you wake up right? I have to admit I’m guilty of this. Every now and then, if I leave my phone on my nightstand, or near my bed, it’s just so easy to pick it up and look at it after turning off the alarm. I personally believe that the first 30 minutes after you wake up is crucial to have a great day. I don’t want to be sucked into a digital world of other people’s life immediately after I wake up. I feel like whenever I do that, it could easily turn into another 30 minutes staying in bed just scrolling on my phone, and I set myself up to lead the remainder of my day in a distracted and reactive manner.
Some quick tips for you:
- Don’t use your phone as your alarm clock, buy an actual alarm clock/ use a voice assistant to help wake you up
- Leave your phone charged in another room (washroom/ living room), not your bedroom
- Have a solid morning routine. My healthy morning routine includes gratitude journal, yoga, and meditation. I know that those rituals will always help put me in the right mindset and attitude to have a good day! ;)
4. Have a no-phone policy when spending time with loved ones
I talked about this specially in this article. When you spend time with your family or friends, try not to use your phone. It’s okay to use your phone to take pictures of the food or some selfies for memories, just keep it minimal. You want to give your attention to the people who deserve it the most.
5. Have a social media detox every so often
Every 2 weeks or so, I go on a social media detox, it’s so ironic because my job requires logging in on social media everyday but at least for my personal account, I don’t check any notifications, messages or watch anyone’s stories or posts. I spend that time to reflect on my goals and what I have to do next to achieve them, or spending time doing what I love (going out with friends and family, painting, coloring, reading, etc.)
Hopefully these tips inspire you to cut back on your technology consumption as well as use your devices more mindfully and productively.