7 ways to spend less time on your smartphone
With more time now spent on screens than asleep, there’s no doubt the internet has become one huge time suck for all of us. And while there are many incredible uses of the digital world (yes, Headspace!), if we’re honest, most of us are not using it for dedicated self-improvement. Instead, we spend hours mindlessly scrolling on social media, burning up hours of our day without delivering anything remotely useful.
Here are seven top tips for how to spend less time on your phone, cut down on screen time and reclaim your life…
1. Boot social media off your phone
Delete, delete, delete. If you want to cut down on hours of distracted screen time then taking social media apps off your phone is the best first step. If it’s just too hard to contemplate, put them all in a folder and drag it off the first screen on your phone so it’s not immediately visible every time you pick it up.
Why not have a go at uninstalling just one, checking it only at your computer for a few days and seeing what a difference it makes? Odds are you’ll be staggered by the extra time you have on your hands.
2. Ban your smartphone from your desk
A recent study from Harvard found, even if our smartphones are face down and switched off on our desks, they distract us.
Try putting yours away in a drawer or bag when you need to concentrate at work — or even in a different room. The same study showed we only have our maximum IQ available for problem-solving if our smartphone isn’t in the same room.
3. Unfollow the time wasters
There will be people and brands in your social feeds that have a negative effect on you, not just wasting your time but actively making you feel worse.
Go through your feeds regularly and only follow accounts that genuinely uplift, educate, inspire or add value to your life in some way. Be ruthless about pruning and letting go of all those that don’t.
4. Keep evenings screen-free
We can’t help the time spent on screens in the office, but problem days are those which involve screens during work hours, followed by an evening on screens to wind down.
Poor sleep at night has been linked to excess screen time at any time during the day, so set some boundaries. Try logging out of social media, work email and messaging apps at 8pm every night and enjoy part of every evening off-screen.
5. Send less emails
We’re all drowning under an email avalanche, with 28% of an average work day now spent simply processing all the email we receive.
To get less email we need to send less email, so make a real effort to cut down and opt out of message chains you don’t need to be involved in. At the weekends and on holidays, just tell anyone to ring you if it’s an emergency.
6. Reclaim the bathroom
62% of us say we check social media apps and messages while on the loo. Stop idly screen scrolling and let your brain have a breather. That’s an hour of our day we can reclaim if we leave our phones outside!
In the time you free up with spending less time on screens there are a whole heap of things you can do instead to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Here are just three ideas:
Establish a morning routine: Some quiet time, reading or maybe a bit of exercise are all much better ways to start a day than an hour spent catching up on missed Instagram posts.
Take up journaling: Writing down your goals for the day or the three things you are most grateful for before you go to bed will add real value to your life. Keep a notebook and a pen next to your bed for jotting things down.
Try meditation: In the hours you have free, how about finally trying to establish a meditation practice? 15 minutes a day is all you need to see a difference, so challenge yourself to a 14-day streak and reflect on how you’re feeling at the end of it.