How many hours do you spend looking at your smartphone? Unless you actively track your screen time, chances are, you don’t know. While our phones are useful for a rainbow array of things (chatting, looking up recipes, watching cat videos… the list goes on), spending too much time glued to them could be a health hazard. No, seriously.
Screen time has been linked to disrupted sleep and a higher risk of depression and even suicide. Put simply, spending all of that time looking at our phones is causing it emotional and physical harm. With that in mind, cutting back on your screen time is a quick way to boost your well-being and health. Of course, getting it right is easier said than done.
Whether you’re addicted to TikTok, have a passion for Instagram or just can’t spend five minutes without chit-chatting on WhatsApp, taking some time away from your screen may be tough. Fortunately enough, there are some tricks you can try. Let’s take a look at some of the best tips to help you have a digital detox because you deserve it.
Tip #1: Set screen time limits
Did you know your phone can help you limit your screen time? If you have an iPhone, go to Settings > Screen Time and then press ‘Turn on Screen Time’. You can then set certain limits, such as how much time you want to spend away from your screen, the apps you want to use less and how much you want to use communication apps.
If you’re an Android user, you will first need to download the Screen Time app. When you’ve done that, you will be able to easily track how much time you spend on your phone and also which apps you tend to use. You can also set a daily limit for certain apps and block them as you want. So, for instance, if you whittle away hours on Facebook each day, you might want to limit your usage to an hour in total. Simple.
Tip #2: Delete the apps you use most
Next up, it’s time to get brutal. Using your Screen Time setting on iPhone or the app on Android, you can see which apps you use the most. If you really want to limit your smartphone usage, getting rid of some of these could be the answer. For example, should you find that you spend too much time on Pinterest, you can go ahead and delete it.
Of course, you don’t want to delete the apps you need on a daily basis. Those include messaging apps, email, Google, or any others that you rely on. To keep things simple, if it’s an app that you scroll through when you’re bored, you probably don’t need it.
This unprecedented app-culling doesn’t have to be a long-term solution. The beauty of apps is you can delete and redownload them as you please. For that reason, it costs nothing to have a break from the pesky apps that are draining you of your free time.
Tip #3: Keep track of your pick-ups
How often do you check your device? Believe it or not, the average Brit picks up their phone 58 times per day. You may not even notice that you’re checking your phone so often. You might be sitting at home and suddenly find that you’re looking at your device to check the weather or look up the name of an actor you just saw on TV.
An old-school way to limit your device usage is to track it. Keep a notebook with you and count each time you check your phone. Being actively aware of how often you use your device is a smart way to cut back. Not only will this habit help you better understand your usage, but it also means that you will think twice before checking it each time.
Tip #4: Make your phone less addictive
Smartphones are all-singing, all-dancing devices. They are bright and colourful drawing you in one notification at a time. And maybe that’s the problem. If you want to make your smartphone less addictive, perhaps it’s time to tone things down a little. Switching to a greyscale colour-tone, rather than the standard setting is the way to go.
To get started on an iPhone, go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size. Scroll down to the Colour Filters option and turn greyscale on. Your phone screen will instantly turn black and white. You can switch this feature off whenever you want.
If you have Android 9.0 or a later version, go to Quick Settings and tap the pen icon. Next, click and drag the greyscale icon into the panel. That means you can use the Quick Settings to turn your phone grey whenever you need to do so. Easy.
Tip #5: Quit taking your phone to bed
Does your bedtime routine include your smartphone? If you spend the last half an hour of the day scrolling on your phone, it could be time to change your ways. As we have already mentioned, screen time could be ruining your sleep quality. What’s more, the blue light emitted from your smartphone screen also damages your chances of sleeping well.
If you tend to charge your phone overnight on your bedside table, why not switch things up? Having your device within reach could be too much temptation. Try charging your phone in a different room. The old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ trick might just work. As a bonus, replace endless scrolling with reading a book for a better night’s sleep.
Start Your Digital Detox Today!
Need a break from your smartphone? If you want to improve your well-being and get more rest, it could be a great move. Within this guide, we’ve covered five tips that will help you put your phone down for longer each day. Why not give them a go for yourself?