I recently realized how much screen time was affecting my sleep and my mental state. I was spending hours on social media, specifically Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. While I need to spend time on those apps to engage with others and promote my blog, I don’t need to scroll as much as I did. I also wasn’t feeling inspired by anything I was seeing on some of these feeds. So what did I do about it?
Over the past few weeks I’ve cut down my phone usage by more than an hour per day, but I still need to improve. I have gone from Addicted to Obsessed to Dependent, as rated by the YourHour app, which I am using to track my usage via a floating timer on each app that alerts me when I am at my limit for the day. (You can set your limit.) The next step down on the usage scale on YourHour would be to become a Habitual phone user. Are you struggling with cutting down on your time spent mindlessly scrolling? I’m sharing some of the steps I have been taking to spend less time on my phone lately.
- Download an app to track your usage. This is the first step because you need to analyze just how you’re spending your time and whether there’s a certain time of day when you’re more likely to be on your phone. Once you know you can set goals and creating little rules for yourself about when you want to use your phone and when you want to avoid it.
- Delete apps that take up a lot of your time. I removed Facebook from my phone for now and I’m considering deleting other apps, too.
- Unfriend/unfollow accounts that aren’t inspiring or cause you to have negative feelings. I unfollowed at least 200 people from Instagram and focused on engaging with those I chose to keep following. Now my feed is more enjoyable. Now I can just stop watching so many Stories …
- Time block or schedule time for social media. I don’t do this every day, but on some days I will make a schedule for how I’d like my day to go hour by hour. I see it as more of a guide, especially on busy days. I try not to check social media during times when I am supposed to be doing something else. By having designated social media times to engage or post you are more intentional and you actually have a purpose for opening the apps.
- Focus on being present with family and friends. Really pay attention to what people are saying. It’s infuriating when I have to repeat myself because someone is looking at a phone rather than listening, and I don’t want to do the same to other people. I think it’s especially important to be present with my girls, who are changing so much every day.
- When you want to share something on social media, ask yourself why. What do you want to gain from posting? If it’s not something positive in your life, reconsider.
- Identify your triggers for using your phone. Are you escaping something? I found that I tend to use my phone when I am doing something that I found boring or not mentally stimulating.
- Put your phone in another room or turn it off at certain times. For example: Instead of bringing a phone charger next to me, I take my phone upstairs to plug it in. This way I’m not tempting to scroll while it’s charging.
Is screen time something you’d like to cut back on? What’s been working for you?
Note: I am not affiliated with the YourHour app. I just found it helpful for my own tracking.