Worried you might be spending too much of your spare time staring at a screen? Here are some simple action steps to get unstuck…
For many of us, screens have become our constant companion—an anchor in our ever-changing worlds. They’re our connection to friends, our access to work and learning, our bridge to world events and news, and our refuge and entertainment escape.
Our phones aren’t just phones either, they’re our portal to the online world, our alarm clocks, calendars, maps, and cameras too.
Still, as useful and ubiquitous as screens are in our lives – their constant presence has come at a cost too.
One of the biggest casualties: our ability to switch off and really connect with the people around us, and be truly present to the present.
If you’ve got a nagging feeling that too much screentime in your own life is costing your peace of mind, consider honestly assessing whether or not you’re a little too stuck on screens…
- Are screens the last thing you look at before you go to bed, and the first thing you reach for upon waking?
- When you have a free minute—or even when you don’t—do you automatically reach for your phone as a way to deal with stress, delay work, or avoid everyday tasks and non-digital connection moments?
- Do you often find yourself scrolling through social media for longer than you had planned?
- On average, do your screentime habits leave you feeling drained, frustrated, sad, or anxious?
- Do you check social media more than three times a day?
- Even if you need screens for work purposes, do you find they actually make you less productive a lot of the time?
If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 3 of the above questions, you’re not alone.
You also know as well as anyone how a creeping digital dependency can take its toll.
If you’re wanting to push back and create some healthier boundaries concerning your screen usage, consider applying a few of these tips:
1. Regularly disconnect. Make a point of detaching yourself from your phone every day. Choose a time that works for you, and when you don’t need to be contactable, then physically turn off your phone or leave it in another room.
2. Make meals a digital-free moment. Unless it’s critical to have your phone near you, decide to make your regular family mealtimes a screen-free moment in the day. This won’t be easy, especially if your teens and tots have gotten used to screens at supper, but connecting with each other around the table is far more important and worth the initial battle.
3. So many studies have connected poor quality sleep with smartphones. If possible, buy an actual alarm clock so you can leave your phone outside of your bedroom at night so you won’t be tempted to use it in bed.
4. Consider downloading an app that will actually ‘lock you out of social media or being online after a designated amount of time each day. There are loads to choose from.
5. Speaking of apps, particularly social media ones, they are designed to make our usage as free-flowing and seamless as possible so that we will spend more time on them. This isn’t always a good thing. If you battle with spending too much time on these apps – consider deleting them from your phone for a time, and only checking in via other means that are a little harder to access.
6. Leave your devices at home when you venture outside as a family. A walk in the park or a trip to the beach needn’t require technology. IN fact, it’s best spent far away from it.
7. Consider taking a tech sabbath. Choose one day a week when you won’t use screens at all. Tiffany Shlain, the author of “24/6”, insists that giving up screens one day a week creates more time, creativity, and connection. Having practiced this herself for over a decade, she says, “A full day off each week resets our tech usage.”
Finally, as you reflect on your and your family’s screen usage, remember to separate good tech habits from bad.
Not all screen time is the same and has the same effect on us or our kids.
Experts suggest having a discussion with each member of our family about which type of tech use is most meaningful to them, then crafting a plan to do more of that—and less of the mindless down-the-rabbit-hole variety.
Here’s to switching on to the real, raw, and wonderful lives all around us. You’ve got this!
Mums, are you or someone in your family addicted to their phone?
Comment below to let us know x