Reducing Screen Time for Adults
For most people, mobile phones, computers, gaming systems, or televisions play a big part in our everyday lives. Does this sound familiar — you’ll be working at your computer, pause a few times throughout the day to respond to a notification on your phone, then when you’re done working, you move to the living room to sit in front of another screen? It all adds up to a lot of screen time, which can disrupt our ability to focus and our sleep patterns, among other things.
Here are tips adults can use to reduce screen time:
Keep Track of Time Spent on Devices
Awareness is the first step to changing habits. When you want to reduce screen time, pay attention to how much time you’ll on your mobile phone. Mobile phones have features to view your daily and weekly usage, and compare screen time week-to-week. Pay attention to this data and set goals to lessen your screen time. Think of something to reward yourself for hitting a milestone of your choosing, such as decreasing screen time weekly over the course of a month…just make sure it’s a reward that doesn’t involve more screen time!
Block or Limit Websites/Social Apps
Mobile phones also have the ability to set time limits on certain apps, such as Instagram or Twitter. If you find yourself gravitating to them out of habit, set a time limit for how long you can scroll them each day, and your phone will notify you when you reach your limit.
Another mobile phone feature is the grayscale mode, which can usually be found under Accessibility. This turns your phone from color to gray, which will make you less likely to stay on it very long.
Similarly, there are programs available to block your computer from accessing certain sites as well, so if you find yourself spending too much time each day on favorite websites, look for one of these programs to help you limit access.
Limit Time Spent on Video
If you spend a lot of time each day on video meetings, you may get what is known as “Zoom Fatigue.” Try to limit the time you spend staring at yourself by turning off your video, or using a feature some video chat programs have that lets you turn off the view of yourself, while still appearing on video to your coworkers. If possible, make your meetings audio-only and go for walks while you talk.
Make sure to take regular breaks from the screen, even if it’s only to look up and away for a bit now and then. Try the Pomodoro technique, a time management tool where you work for 25-minute chunks then take a 5-minute break. After four Pomordoros, take a longer 15-30 minute break. Stand up, stretch, and move around during breaks to give your eyes some rest.
No Screens in the Bedroom
Tablets and phones emit a blue light that can restrict the production of melatonin and negatively affect sleep cycles. Turn off all screens an hour before bed, and instead do some light stretching, reading, or journaling in a notebook to unwind. This will help you get a better night’s sleep so you feel rested and refreshed the next day!