Reduce screen time
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10 Ways to Reduce Unwanted Screen Time

Are you struggling to find a balance between your digital and physical worlds?

If you said yes, you are not alone. As technology becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives, it's no surprise that many of us find ourselves caught in a cycle of excessive screen time. And to be honest, most of our lives are dependent on our device usage.

This article serves as an example. Hours of research, online reading, virtual meetings, and writing have all been conducted through screens. It's easy to get caught up in this cycle without giving it a second thought. However, there is hope for finding balance.

In this article, we'll explore ten powerful tips and tools to reduce screen time and restore balance to your digital habits. From setting limits and creating screen-free zones to tracking usage and utilizing helpful tools like Zario, you can take control of your digital habits and prioritize your digital wellbeing.

Let's dive in and discover effective strategies for reducing screen time, straight from someone writing behind this screen.

10 ways you can reduce your screen time today

1. Set limits for how long you use a screen at a time

This tip is prioritized first because it is considered the most important. Recognizing the essential role screens play in our work, completely eliminating them is not feasible. However, we can establish healthier habits, such as setting screen time limits and taking scheduled breaks.

The Pomodoro method is a technique I follow, involving 25-minute work segments followed by 5-minute breaks, and then repeating this cycle for four rounds. After the fourth round, a 20-minute break is rewarded. This approach provides a structured routine, dedicated focus time without distractions, and regular intervals for rest throughout the day.

Zario's latest feature, the Focus Timer, is helpful for setting distraction-free 25-minute work segments. It prevents access to apps during this time, ensuring undivided focus. Give it a try today!

2. Establish screen-free zones

This approach can be a game changer for you and your family. Many of us have found ourselves working from home and our devices accompany us everywhere - from office computers to iPads in the living room and phones in the kitchen. This constant presence of screens can hinder our ability to disconnect from work and fully relax. To address this, setting up screen-free zones is an important practice!

For instance, making the living room and bedroom completely screen-free has a profound impact. It fosters increased presence and focus on meaningful conversations, reading, relaxation, or even enjoying a show on Netflix. This can be a challenging rule to follow, and you’ll probably forget a few times before it sticks. Find what works best for you and your family, and create a new habit around it.

3. Turn off notifications

This is one that might annoy your family, but it's crucial to set boundaries.

Turning off notifications is one of the easiest and quickest methods to reduce screen time. In your phone settings, you have the option to choose which apps you want to receive notifications from. You can also customize how these notifications are displayed. By limiting the number of notifications you receive, you can create distance between yourself and the constant urge to check your phone. Rest assured, you won't miss anything important.

4. Make a rule to put phones away during meals

If making the dining room or kitchen screen-free feels like a harrowing feat, you can meet yourself in the middle by establishing device-free meals. This is an important practice that not only reduces your screen time, but can improve your overall health. Eating while distracted has a huge impact on our digestive system and can lead to negative effects, so by establishing device-free meals you can improve your health and your screen time. We know this one can be especially tricky with teens, so check out our article on reducing screen time in teens for some extra support.

5. Track the amount of time you spend on your screen(s)

To really limit screen time, it’s crucial to understand exactly how much time you are spending on your screen and in certain apps. This is why Zario’s Circuit Breaker™️ feature is such an important tool to utilize. In initially setting up the Circuit Breaker, your phone usage patterns will be analyzed for one week. After this week, you get a report with your exact app openings and phone usage, along with a personalized goal to decrease your screen time. This is incredibly helpful in truly changing your screen time habit and reducing it for the long term.

6. Engage in offline activities

Identify activities that you typically do on your phone but can be enjoyed offline. Reading, for example, is a screen-free activity that offers a refreshing and often much needed break from our screens. Despite the options for digital reading, reading is an activity that can be enjoyed offline, away from your phone. So, take a break from the screen and dive into a new book or magazine. It's a refreshing way to disconnect, reduce your screen time and visit your favorite local bookstore or library.

7. Limit phone use first thing in the morning

We often find ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of notifications, social media updates, and emails as soon as we wake up. This sets up our day up in an anxious, hurried state. Thus it can leave us feeling overwhelmed and set a chaotic tone for the rest of the day. By consciously choosing to delay phone usage in the morning, we can create a more peaceful and focused start to our day. Instead, we can take time for ourselves by practicing mindfulness, enjoying a leisurely breakfast, or having meaningful conversations with loved ones. Prioritizing present-moment experiences over technology in the morning cultivates mindfulness, boosts mental wellbeing, and sets a positive tone for the day.

8. Remove distracting apps from your home screen

If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media or refreshing your email inbox every few minutes, it might be time to reconsider the apps you have on your phone. Although it may seem like a small change, deleting the most addictive and distracting apps from your device can help break the cycle of constant checking and refreshing. Instead of using an app, try accessing websites through a browser - this way, you can still get the information you need without being pulled into an endless cycle of updates and notifications.

9. Put your phone screen in black and white mode

This is a tip that at first glance, you probably won’t want to do, but there are a lot of benefits to putting your phone in black and white mode, also known as grayscale. Our phones are designed with captivating colors that can easily grab our attention. By using black and white mode, we make our phones less visually stimulating and reduce the urge to mindlessly scroll through apps and social media. This simple adjustment helps break the habit of constantly reaching for our phones, improves focus and productivity, and promotes better sleep by minimizing exposure to disruptive blue light.

10. Notice the times when you mindlessly scroll

Becoming aware of those moments when you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your phone is an important step to take in limiting screen time. Whether it's during idle moments, when you're stressed, or simply out of habit, recognizing these instances is an important step to regaining control over your screen time.

Pay attention to the triggers and emotions that lead you to mindlessly scroll, and consciously choose to redirect your attention to more meaningful activities. By breaking free from the cycle of mindless scrolling, you can reclaim precious time and reduce your overall screen time, allowing for greater focus, productivity, and wellbeing.

*BONUS TIP* Download Zario!

Now, you might find it a bit ironic to download an app to reduce the time you spend on your phone, but trust us, your phone can be your ally when used wisely. That's where Zario comes in, fighting fire with fire. By downloading Zario, you'll not only learn and apply the tips and tricks from this list, but you'll also uncover additional strategies, all while having fun, saving time, and constantly growing. So, what are you waiting for? Take the leap, download Zario, and unlock the door to a healthier digital lifestyle. It's time to reclaim control and embark on this exciting journey together!

Are you finally ready to reduce your unwanted screen time?

It's time to reclaim balance in your life, both online and offline, and the first place to start is by reducing your screen time. By embracing these 10 powerful tips and strategies you'll regain focus, improve your sleep, and nurture meaningful connections.

Written by Killian Fjellbakk Chiao

15 June 2024

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