Friday, February 7, 2020

5 Ways To Reduce Screen Time

Today, the average time that a user spends his time on his mobile phone is approximately 3 to 4 hours in a day apart from work purpose. As much as technology has helped us to come closer to one another, instead of getting close, we are farther away from each other and the only thing close to us is our mobile device. There isn’t a day when we are not glued to our mobile devices. Research has proven that this level of screen time on a daily basis does not only affect us physically but also affects our social life with people.

My family consists of my father, mother, wife & 2 pet cats. There used to be days when I just used to get back from work and without even freshening up, my hand used to directly go on my desktop to switch it on and watch my daily TV series. This in turn used to rob me from the time I need to give my family and my pets. Overtime I realized the consequences of it and start reducing my screen time gradually. I stopped watching series from everyday a week to just 2 days a week during my week offs. I used to keep my phone on silent the moment I am home and everyone else is home. I also don’t access screen time at least 45 minutes before bed time. This has not only helped to reduce my anxiety levels but also improve the quality of my life with my family and my pets.

“It should be a tool you use and not a tool that uses you” – Jean Twenge

After doing much research online as well as implementing it on my personal life, below are 5 things that you can do to reduce your screen time in the longer run and improve the quality of your future life.

• Track Your Screen Time: There are multiple apps that you will find online to track your screen time but that’s again a digital way to keep a track of your time. I would suggest you to keep a track of it manually while you are at home. I have personally kept a designated place in my drawer for my phone. The moment I walk in and I am aware that everyone from my family is safe and sound at home, I switch off my internet and bury my phone in that drawer and do not remove it until I need to reset my alarm for the next day before I go to bed. On my week offs, I check my phone just 4 times a day for less than 10 minutes: Morning, Afternoon, Evening and at Night. I avoid unnecessary phone calls and checking social media apps during this time.

• Turn Off Notifications: There is saying that “Diabetes are a man’s best friend” It can be controlled but never cured until your last day on earth. The best way to control it is to avoid temptations of certain foodstuffs and be on regular medications for it not to go off the charts. Similarly, our mobile device is the new digital diabetes which will be with us until the last day of our lives and as long as it’s with us the so called notifications ‘Temptations’ will also exist. How we control it is up to us. 

• Digital Detox : I will talk more on this topic in future, however for now will keep it short. It’s more about how we manage our social media apps and if possible we should delete the ones that consume most of our time. As an experiment, I deleted Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & Twitter from my device for a month and have never felt the FOMO as I was busy building my own life. I moved my attention to writing blogs for my audience. It gave me a sense of giving something back to this world. The amount of time I saved post deleting these apps was mind boggling. Post 30 days I reinstalled the app on my phone and since then I have not had the cravings to visit my apps at all. I still check them once a week if I have to else they just lie there in my phone waiting for me to open them and not tempting me to access them.

• Block Notifications from Websites: Every time you visit a new website it will prompt you to save a cache copy of the page on your phone or laptop as well as ‘ALLOW’ or ‘BLOCK’ notifications from the website. You will most often see them on e-commerce website where in once you have allowed the notifications, all your searches will haunt you everywhere you go and every website or app you visit on social media reminding you of the things you searched and wished to purchase which results in impulsive purchases as well. Not ignoring the fact that it redirects your thought process from one topic to a completing different one and you may find yourself shopping instead of reading an important article for the rest of your time.

• Make Eye Contact:

“Making eye contact with another person may very well be the single most important act of our communication” – Martin S. Remland. 

We as humans are social animals. Making eye contact is the first and foremost way to making a conversation with another person. Today as we carry our mobile devices everywhere you will notice people sitting on the same dinner table at a restaurant but not talking to each other but buried their faces in their mobile phones while sitting in front of each other. If you look at it from a third person’s perspective it rather looks stupid more than funny. Even if you wish to carry your mobile device along with you make it a point to keep it in your bag or purse. If you are so addicted to your device keep it face down on the dinner table in a way to ensure that you are having a quality time with the person sitting in front of you. It’s also good manners. The more we distance ourselves from our gadgets the more wonderful and engaging our overall experience of life will be.                                   

Let’s make a conscious effort to ensure we eat, walk and sleep with our head up and not down on our phones at all times. I hope this article helps you in making time for yourself and your family rather than just sitting with a non living thing in your hand all day that will neither give you the satisfaction of companionship but also affect your personal well being on the longer run. Just like fasting is considered sacred in a few religions, fasting from social media and our mobile devices will also help us achieve the same health benefits too.