Ever feel like you spend your whole day staring at screens? Whether it’s at work, class, home, or even out to eat, televisions, laptops, and phone screens are EVERYWHERE! It may not come as a huge surprise that the average American spends approximately 10 hours per day in front of screens (Nielson, 2016). I know I spend ample time on my laptop, and check my phone regularly throughout the day, but 10 hours?? For me, this was a scary statistic. There are so many things I need to accomplish every day and no wonder this can be difficult sometimes when I’m spending so much time in front of screens. I decided to make a conscious effort to be more aware of my screen time, and hopefully cut back some. The first thing I did was log how many times per day and how long I was in front of a screen. This helped me see where the majority of my time was being spent. For me, I have to use my laptop very often at work, as well as in the evenings to get my assignments done for class. I knew I wouldn’t be able to cut back much on this, so I tried to see if I cut down in other areas such as television and looking at my phone. Read on for tips that helped me decrease my screen time!
Track your screen time
Before you start out, you should be aware of your current habits. This way, you’ll know where the majority of your time is being spent in regard to screen time. You can do this with a simple hand-written log, tracking any time that you’re in front of a screen and length of time. There are also apps you can download onto your phone such as Moment, that automatically track the amount of times you check your phone. It also includes settings that alert you when you’ve hit your set limit for the day.
Create a designated space in your home where you put electronics such as laptops, phones, or tablets. This way you might get in the habit of putting them away when you get home so that you won’t be tempted to use them as much when you’re trying to unwind for the day. If this seems like too much, then start by creating a space where cell phones go during meal times. One third of Americans use their cell phones during dinner! This can lead to overeating because you’re not focusing on what or how much you’re eating. You may be distracted and unaware of when you’re full. Also, meal times should be spent with family and friends! Use this time to enjoy yourself and unwind, not be on your phone.
Brainstorm other ways to spend your time
Do you often find yourself pulling out your cell phone to fill time while waiting for something? Or maybe you have a long commute every day that you spend scrolling through social media. Instead of aimlessly looking at things you probably won’t remember, do something else instead! My favorites are Sudoku puzzles, and coloring books. You could also do crossword puzzles or have a magazine on hand! I’ve found that doing Sudoku on the train is a great way for me to relax, and much more enjoyable then using my phone.
When in doubt, put your cell phone away, turn off the television, and do something you actually enjoy!
Written by GUADS staff member Emily