How to Get Your Screen Time Under Control
By Amy Jacques
Screens have become especially prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re using them to work and for meetings, to talk to our family and friends, to attend events, to binge-watch TV shows, to read the news and to see what’s going on in our community.
Many of us have been using devices in our spare time and in our work time, which can lead to headaches, eye strain, stress, anxiety, sleep issues and “an ambient fear of missing important information or opportunities,” Doreen Dodgen-Magee, PsyD, an expert on the physical and mental effects of technology tells The Muse.
While we can’t eliminate screen time in today’s hyper-connected world, we can try to manage it. Start by documenting your habits. Apps or the Screen Time iPhone function can help, but also be mindful of TVs, computers and gaming devices. Once you see some trends, make adjustments so you don’t waste screen time (online shopping, doomscrolling).
Another tip: Turn off your notifications or try the “do not disturb” mode on your phone. You can also set this for certain time perimeters on your phone if having them turned off all the time isn’t a workable option. This will stop the constant interruptions and you can complete the task at hand in a more focused manner, the article says.
Try to take screen breaks at least every 40 minutes during the workday. Get up and walk around or do a physical task that requires your eyes to be off a screen. Dodgen-Magee recommends setting at least two 10-minute blocks of time — one in the morning and one in the evening — to “do things that engage our bodies.”
In addition, strive for creating some tech-free zones in your home. The bedroom and bathroom are good places to start. Removing phones from your bedroom can prevent scrolling and gets rid of blue light before bed, allowing for better sleep.
Lastly, research has shown that too much social media use can be associated with anxiety and depression so placing limits on various apps and platforms is a positive step toward reducing your screen time, according to The Muse.
• Determine screen time usage, then align it to your priorities and values.
• Schedule screen-free breaks, and create device-free areas at home.
• Turn off your notifications, and only use one screen at a time.
• Limit social media time, and be intentional about what you consume online.
• Find work tasks and downtime activities that you can do without a screen.
• Go outside whenever possible, and try to engage all your other senses