Do you ever find yourself aimlessly using your phone? I bet 99% of you just agreed with me there. There have been countless, and I mean COUNTLESS times and situations that I have simply unlocked and begun using my phone for no reason at all. Sat on the bus; I would begin using my phone. Standing in a queue; I would be using my phone. Eating my dinner; I can guarantee that at least once throughout the meal I would unlock and just start using my phone. Does this seem like you? Yes? No? Maybe?….
Okay, here’s the one that I’m going to assume almost everyone can relate to…
Laying in bed, about to go to sleep?….. I can guarantee that you will most likely end up on your phone.
It’s strange, isn’t it? Regardless of the situation we are in we almost always reach for the little (or not so little) devices in our pockets at any given chance. Whether it’s to check up on our friend’s social media or to check on the popularity of our own social media content (I’m talking to you like refreshers!) We almost always find at least one thing to do on our phones at any given moment. I want to take a minute today to highlight all the ways that I’m owning my screen time in 2018.
“Screen time: The amount of time spent looking at an electronic device, or using digital apps”
First things first, I just want to clear the air here. No, I’m not saying that spending time on your phone is a bad thing. Yes, screen time is not just limited to phones – I know that, however, our phones have become our most easily accessible and portable device. They’re with us nearly all the time! I know that I personally have mine in my pocket for almost all of the day – unless I’m at my job. These devices have become like additional limbs that we cannot live without, and that’s what I’m planning to change this year.
Declutter that home screen.
You may or may not already be aware of the fact that your phones home screen is designed to get you hooked. That’s right, all those colourful apps are designed to keep you coming back for more. The first step towards cutting your phone addiction is to declutter your home screen. To make it simple for yourself – a great place to start is by moving all of your downloaded apps into a single folder. Whilst it may sound like you’re simply decluttering by cluttering up a folder, by having all of your apps neatly tucked away you’ll soon realise that you don’t use them as much. After all, if you’re not being constantly reminded of their presence, you’re not going to remember to open them. If you’re an iPhone user like me, when you unlock your phone you’re greeted with that first page of default Apple apps – move them! I’ve simply moved every single default app onto the second page of my iPhone, so now when I unlock my phone I’m simply greeted by my wallpaper.
Turn off unnecessary notifications.
I don’t know about you but I constantly receive notifications, whether from social media or from other apps and games on my phone… I’m talking to you Groupon reminding me about deals every day. More often than not these notifications that I would receive would encourage me to go on my phone. This year I’ve begun tackling this issue by disabling all the unnecessary notifications that would pop up on my phone! So, what would you class as an unnecessary notification? My first answer may shock you, but an example I would give is Instagram.
If you know me, you would know that I must have used to spend 90% of my spare time just scrolling away down Instagram. The majority of the time, I would end up on Instagram by clicking on one of the like notifications I would receive on my lock screen. Why not try and combat your app addiction by scrolling through your notification settings and disabling anything that isn’t a priority.
Here’s a tip: Leave notifications on for priority apps such as texting and phone calls, disable anything else. You’ll really quickly notice how much less inclined you are to open apps when they’re not popping up all day long.
PS: If you don’t want to disable notifications but do want to stop them lighting up your phone screen, you can always put your phone into do not disturb mode – allowing access through for favourite contacts.
iPhone users, did you know that you can wipe all colour from your phone screen? Whilst it may seem like a questionable feature, being able to wipe away all the bright colours from your phone reduces its sense of appeal. (See here for more info)
One of the best ways that I manage and track how much I am using my phone throughout the week is through my phone’s native screen time tracker. The screentime tracker allows you to keep an eye on exactly how many hours you spend on your phone – but even better, it allows you to track how long you spend on individual apps. As you may be able to guess, my most used app is Instagram. As I’m typing this, I’m looking back on the number of hours I spent on Instagram last week, and the final total racks up to 5 hours! I spend on average around 44 minutes per day on Instagram, which may be a lot to some of you, or it may be a little. However, I’ve managed to get my screen time addiction from Instagram down drastically over the last couple of weeks. It’s through this service that I’ve been able to identify where my iPhone addiction was coming from and really tackle it head on.
For example; when looking at my screentime last week I noticed that my second most used app was Snapchat, which at the time was providing me with hundreds of notifications per week. Since then I’ve disabled the notifications and have already noticed a huge difference in how often I am using the app.