More Screen Time Means Less Real Life Time. But More Real Life Time Equals More Success. Here’s How to Reduce Online Hours.
For more of our days than we care to admit we spend our time staring at screens. Maybe for you that means 16hours a day or maybe it’s just 4. Either way you have landed here because it’s more than suits you.
If your screen time is not leaving you happy, fulfilled and refreshed but rather guilty, unfulfilled, and just plain tired, then it’s time for change. So, here’s the Aluxers guide of 15 Ways To Reduce SCREEN TIME and live a happier life.
Your Alux-watching time is always healthy screen time, because we’re here to inspire and educate you. You can switch to the video version of this article:
With that plugged in, let’s proceed to the article.
Get a Clear Picture
We’re all a little in denial when it comes to how much screen time we actually get in a day. So the first point of call is to get an accurate picture on how much time you actually spend gazing into the blue-light.
We recommend installing a time tracker on all the main devices you use. There are many free versions to choose from, and most give you a pie chart or similar at the end of each day, week and month to show you what you actually looked at.
You might be surprised at how much time you spend reading the comments of your favourite channels and how little time you spend doing work related stuff. Thankfully the app won’t report to your boss!
But empowered with this full picture you are now ready to make a change.
Face the Hard Facts
This one can be hard to hear, but we’re here with the truth. You don’t actually have to know everything about everything, and you don’t have to find it out from the internet. When someone starts to talk about something new, you don’t have to automatically launch into a Google search, and try to keep up with competing facts as they converse with you. Leave your phone and listen to the information they are bringing. Instead of asking Google, ask the human in front of you more engaging questions, and enjoy learning IRL for a change.
Next time you see an interesting video or article, stop yourself before you head down the rabbit hole of finding out everything there is to know about Alpaca’s like a five-year-old does about dinosaurs. Unless you are moving into Alpaca farming, it’s not really going to impress your dinner guests if you rattle off a million Alpaca facts, remember that they have Google too! Information is only important if it is relevant and has context within the discussion, there is no prize for knowing the most facts of your friends!
Social media’s main objective is to keep you on the app. That means the moment they notice you slowing down or losing interest they will hit you with a bell chime or notification to keep your focus back on track.
Even after you exit the app they might still send you notifications to let you know someone commented on your comment on your comment about a comment about Paris Hilton’s documentary. And try as you might you can’t resist the urge to log on and look.
So stop noticing today by switching off you notification settings. You have to do this for each app and also each device you own. Instead of scrolling in the check-out line, do a few apps every time. Go to settings, notifications, uncheck all boxes, or click one that undoes the notifications that you can live without for now, and press SAVE. Then go and live your life.
You need to build some mind game before you can beat the ever-cunning tactics of social media to grasp your attention. Here are 10 Mind Tricks That Will Make You Awesome.
Log off or Log Out
Another novel idea is to log-off when you are done on a social media site or app. If you have to spend time logging back in you’re making it one step harder to just click and scroll.
Go a step further and change your password to something complicated and then click NO to auto log-ins and log-in saver prompts. Making time wasting less convenient for yourself.
Like writing a To-do list and crossing off the tasks you completed, unsubscribing from newsletters, mailing lists, apps and other subscriptions is completely addictive. Give yourself an ego boost, pour a glass of wine, put on some good music and give yourself a candle lit evening unsubscribing from all those annoying emails that clog up your morning emails. By now you’ll feel like you lost 10 pounds.
Then take a look at your phone or tablet. Uninstall all those apps you hate, the ones that send you spam ads or notifications you never look at. Then exit all the lousy Whatsapp chats you never respond to and just clog your phone with bad memes. This is the equivalent of going down a pants size for the ego. Now if you want to end on a complete climax, update your antivirus settings to stop sending you notifications for updates!
Make a Date With Your Screen
Take a look at your schedule. Then slot in a few sessions of screen time. Make Monday night your time to catch up on series. Or Sunday is movie night. If you take a train to work let that be your social media scroll. Or let yourself have 20 minutes at lunch to watch some Youtube.
If you go cold turkey with yourself, you might not cope. Try to stick to screen activity that bring you real joy and relaxation or entertains you. Avoid anything that gets you negatively worked up, or makes you feel tense or depressed. Aint nobody got time.
Reach Out IRL
If we’re honest with ourselves we scroll because we are bored or lonely, or feeling disconnected. Sadly scrolling seldom heals those feelings. Help yourself to need scrolling less by connecting with people more In Real Life. When you are really connected, you won’t feel disconnected. Do something you enjoy, if you are enjoying yourself you won’t get bored. And if you’re building into your relationships, you’re less likely to feel lonely.
Prioritize Everything Else
Can you remember what it was like to get to work and drink your coffee away from your desk? Why not delay jumping to your emails and catch up with your colleague or boss face to face. Sounds crazy, we know, but bear with us. You could also sit down in the staff kitchen, or mosey on up to a work friend and chat as opposed to IM them.
Let non-screen moments become your priority. Instead of promising your kids another episode of iCarly if they behave, promise them a game of snap with you. Great for you and the kids.
Look through your diary and see how you can make a few more concrete plans during times you know you can fall back on your bed and just lose 3 hours of your life between phone apps. While you’re finding your phone-less feet you might need to help yourself break the habit with some distractions.
We are all becoming aware of how skewed and personalised the information we all receive from the internet is. It’s like the internet is a 1st grade teacher and it doesn’t want to tell you that you’re just plain wrong sometimes. If you don’t want to be stuck in the echo chamber forever then why not go into a library or bookstore and pick a book you have never heard of, something that no one has recommended to you, and isn’t on the Top 10 shelf on in a window promotion.
You might be surprised at the completely ‘other’ opinion it reveals, and you can try it on for size without anyone even tracking you.
Reduce the Screens in Your Life
Go through your house and office and count how many screens you have. Do you need a laptop, TV, Projector, PC, tablet, E-reader, smartphone, X-box and smart watch really?
Or are you just enabling it to be easier to flick on a screen. The more screens are away from arms reach, the less likely you are to lean over and lose hours at a time.
Add More Un-Screen Hobbies to Your Life
Aluxers, it’s time to stop watching fish tank build videos and go out and get your own fish tank started. There is no rule that says that you don’t qualify for a fish tank until you know everything there is to know about the hobby.
Un-screen yourself and get stuck in with both hands. Chat to the guy at the model building shop if you aren’t sure. Join a running club if you want to improve your running time. And get in the ocean if you want to learn to surf. Because you’re not “into” gardening until you plant your first plant.
Be Upset IRL
We’re a generation of keyboard activists. The best definition we could find for this on Urban Dictionary is: “People who instead of doing something (proactive) about what they perceive to be an issue, whine posting passive-aggressive sh*t and long boring texts with faulty logic all over the internet.”
Instead of getting angry and hammering away at keyboards while you eat instant ramen and develop high blood pressure, why not get upset about something in real life instead. If there is a litter problem in your area why don’t you try resolving it with your neighbours. Or instead of posting a nonsensical Facebook post next time a colleague eats your lunch, approach them directly and ask them not to. When you’re a real activist you won’t have a need to stir the pot as much online.
Appreciate a Different Pace
As you start to wean off the screen you are going to notice one big difference: you Slow down the information flow. You will quickly realise that it’s okay not to know everything about everything. In fact, it gives you a great reason to converse with other people as they fill you in on something interesting that they saw online while you were out playing tennis.
Don’t ever fear that you won’t find anything out, but you will slow the flow of constant information, and the important stuff will come through to you. While you will miss the gender reveal of the 4th child of the girl who sat next to you in geography class in Grade 7, you will just have to deal with that disappointment.
Free Your Mind With Meditation
When you are feeling antsy and having the addiction sweats of going for a walk in the park without taking your phone, instead of running home screaming, take a minute to sit still with your mind. Take your awareness through each part of your body from head to toe, and spend some time exploring your thoughts as they swirl in your head. It’s a fantastic feeling, to just observe yourself and your thoughts without judgement. The more you enjoy spending time with yourself, the less you will need the screen to comfort you.
If you want to know more about meditation and mastering your mind, why not try our course on the subject Mind Mastery. Sign up today at alux.com/mindmastery
Make real people your real focus in life. The more time you spend doing real things in real time the more you will feel disconnected from devices. The disappointment we feel from past news, or future expectations can occupy our entire present. In the end we spend our life living in what was and what might be rather than what is. Meditation and mindfulness will help you, but every minute is also easier to give your undivided attention to, and enjoy the beautiful now.
Don’t treat it like a second thought.
What are you most afraid will happen if you put down the screen?