Do you know what your average screen time is per day? According to this article, the average person spends 3 hours and 43 minutes on their phone per day. That amount is staggering. Not only does this mean copious amounts of scrolling on social media and checking in on other people’s lives but it also means hours detracted from our own work, relationships, health and wellbeing. It’s time for a social media detox.
When lockdown began last year, I read a number of articles about the increase in screen time due to everyone being at home and I warned myself against falling into the social media hole. My screen time did, however, grow by about an hour and at that point I decided enough was enough and started doing something about it. Here are the measures I put in place to limit my screen time and why I recommend you do the same.
1. Adjust your phone settings
This is such an easy thing to do. I switched on my downtime setting so that between 21h00 and 07h00 all my non-essential apps were inaccessible. To be fair, we’ve all read that you should switch your screens off at least an hour before bed for better sleep hygiene and the experts are not wrong. It definitely helps ensuring you have a restful night if you put your phone away.
In addition to that, I also set time limits for each app. By way of example, I am only able to access Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for 30 minutes each day. 30 minutes is still a considerable amount of time so this should be more than sufficient but, I have to admit, when I started using this setting, I realised how much I must have been scrolling each day and it made me so happy I’d now set strict boundries.
2. Pick up a book
It’s no secret that I love a good book. Once I started my screen time restrictions, I noticed that I had so much more time to read. No longer was I scrolling on my phone the moment I woke up in the morning accomplishing absolutely nothing, but now I had a solid hour to read – something I love to do. I was doing the same thing before I went to bed too and it has meant that I’ve read so many more books than I usually would have purely because I put my phone down. Isn’t that crazy? I must have wasted hundreds of hours on meaningless drivel whereas now I enjoy learning or losing myself in a beautiful story. It’s the best way to wake up and also the best way to fall asleep.
3. Make time for a workout
Rather than procrastinating and putting off the time between getting dressed and putting on your running shoes, set your phone aside and get straight to it. By avoiding your phone, you’ll have more time to fit in a really good exercise and your body will thank you for it. If you’re spending less time on your phone, that also means you’ll have more time for stretching after your workout which you may have neglected had you run out of time in the instance where you were scrolling on your phone before your workout. Your health should always come first and not your screen time. If you think about how good you feel after a workout versus how you feel after scrolling on your phone, you cannot even begin to compare.
4. No phones at the dinner table
The time we spend with loved ones is worth its weight in gold. When we sit down for dinner, whether at home or out at a restaurant, we should all put our phones away and be present. Any incoming calls or messages that you receive in that space of time can be returned afterward. Make the moments you share together priceless. Hear what each person has to say. Don’t be distracted by people that are not with you in that given moment. Not only will this lower your screentime, but it’s also the polite thing to do. Give the people you are with your undivided attention. They deserve it.
5. Head outdoors
As you might remember me saying in this blog post, it is critical for us all to spend more time outdoors. We know that this ensures we absorb more Vitamin D, are more active and it’s a huge reliever of stress and anxiety. Organising a picnic, walking your dog, meeting a friend for coffee at an outside cafe or going for a hike are incredible mood boosters and this also means you’ll be spending less time on your phone. It’s a win-win to me.
6. A note on Self-doubt and overspending
When you think about the dangers of excessive time spent on social media, it’s easy to identify how quickly the words “comparison is the thief of joy” ring true. It’s so easy to start comparing yourself to people with lifestyles that are completely different to yours and wondering why you aren’t at that point yet. Seeing hundreds of people online with designer bags could also normalise overspending which is incredibly dangerous. Sometimes, by putting your phone down and looking at the world around you, you can regain clarity. There’s nothing in this to stop you from setting goals and becoming successful. There is, however, a lot to say about becoming overwhelmed, feeling down about yourself and avoiding anything that would hamper your progress. If social media is starting to make you feel bad about yourself, it’s time to cut back and regroup.
Would you try a social media detox? I’m so curious to know what your average screen time is and whether you use any strategies to limit the use of your phone throughout the day. If you do, have you noticed any benefits? I’d love to know your thoughts.