We’re now well into January, and no doubt you’ve been thinking about positive changes to bring into 2023. Maybe you’re trying to complete a Dry January to cut out alcohol or signed up for a gym membership to help get fit this year.
You might have also decided to embark on a mission to reduce your screen time. It’s no surprise, when according to recent data, Aussies spend 5.6 hours a day on their phones*. That’s not even including time on laptops, watching TV, or checking your smart watch. Almost half of Australians said that if they leave their phone at home, it makes them feel anxious. And in the US, almost half of the population says they are addicted to their phones.
So if reducing screen time is at the top of your New Year’s Resolutions, here are some tips and tricks to make it a little easier.
1) Keep your phone in a separate room overnight.
This one has been a game changer for me. Buy an alarm clock so you don’t accidentally sleep in, and keep your phone in a different room when you go to bed. Our phones are often the last thing we look at before we go to bed, and the first thing we check when we wake up, which can leave our head swimming with thoughts of emails we need to write, messages we need to reply to and problems we need to sort out, which isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep. It also means you won’t have your sleep interrupted if you get notifications throughout the night.
If you listen to meditations on your phone to help you sleep — you can even buy alarm clocks that have this feature.
Even better, use the time before bed that you might have spent scrolling to read a book, have a cup of herbal tea, or try journaling to help set you up for a peaceful night’s sleep.
2) Delete your social media accounts (at least for a little while).
One of the main distractions on our phones is social media, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. And they’re designed to keep us scrolling, which can often leave us feeling depleted, especially if there’s lots of bad news going around. Give yourself a mental break by deleting one — or if you’re brave — all your social media accounts for a week and see if you feel a difference.
Put your phone on airplane mode when you’re working. According to the same data, we check our phones almost every 8 minutes — talk about distractions! To combat this and help you concentrate on the task ahead when you’re trying to work, put your phone on airplane mode when you have important work to do. That way you won’t be distracted by messages and notifications coming through, and you’ll be less tempted to mindlessly scroll through Instagram instead of finishing off that important email!
3) Implement the one screen rule.
Do you ever sit down to watch your favorite show on Netflix, only to scroll on your phone the entire time (and then have no idea what’s happening in the show)? Or trying to write an email, only to check Instagram and fall down the rabbit hole? The problem with that is, you’re not really engaged in either activity. I know, I know, it can be tempting to check IMDB to work out just why that actor looks SO familiar, but I promise, it can wait until after the movie or show has finished. By just using one screen at a time, you’re more present with what you’re doing at the time. Remember — multitasking is a myth!
Meet Our Contributor — Kate Reynolds
Kate is a writer and voice actor in Sydney who is passionate about wellness, good food and getting lost in a great book.