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The Detox Game Plan to Minimise Screen Time

Unlock the path to a healthier relationship with screens by adopting practical tips to reduce screen time

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14 Sep '23
5 min read


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How often do you waste your time on your phone? 

In a recent study conducted by Redseer Strategy Consultants, it was found that Indians are spending approximately 7.3 hours per day on their smartphones. While they utilize their smartphones for various purposes, their primary activities include online messaging, engaging in social media, streaming YouTube, consuming OTT content, and watching short-form videos.

This is almost one-third of our day, which is concerning. Not only the time is gone but also our physical and mental well-being suffer a blow. Heightened stress, anxiety, sleep problems and obesity, are some of the issues arising from it. 

Heavy screen time and digital consumption significantly impact stress regulation. The hormone cortisol, a stress marker, is affected by increased screen use. Moreover, excessive media consumption is linked to health issues like insulin resistance, vision problems, headaches, eye strain, dry eyes, sedentary behaviour, depression, and even suicidal tendencies. 

In fact, phone addiction has become so problematic that it has spawned a slew of terms to describe its symptoms:

  1. Nomophobia: Fear of being without your device.
  2. FOMO: Fear of missing out.
  3. Ringxiety: Imagined rings or vibrations that make you check your phone frequently.
  4. Textiety: Anxiety about responding to a text message immediately.

At such crucial moments, regulation is the key. 

The recommended daily screen time limit is two hours, and exceeding this spells trouble for our sanity. 

But we have some handy tips to effectively reduce this time or, at the very least, monitor it closely:

Keep tabs 

For starters, get an idea of how much time you spend looking at the screens. What activities are you doing at that time? Keep a tab, be it doomscrolling, reading news, banking, schedule planning, browsing or grocery shopping. Use apps like Digital Wellbeing, Freedom, Social Fever, etc., or built-in features on your devices to monitor it closely. This will give you a clear picture of your habits and help you identify areas where you can make changes, especially on the non-essential tasks.


Make a schedule, limit yourself to a couple of hours a day, and even delete those distracting apps. 

Explore Analog Alternatives

Remember those blissful times when we didn't resort to scrolling on phones? It is still possible to reduce our reliance on screens if we can find joy in alternative analogue activities like painting, gardening, cooking, playing a musical instrument, walking, starting a journal, exploring outdoor activities, or volunteering. It needs to fill the boredom void, primarily the reason we end up on the phone.

So next time you instinctively reach out for your phone, pause for a moment and swap it with the book, paint brushes or any musical instrument. This can immediately change your relationship with your smartphone.

You can elevate it further by making a list of some goals and achievements you would love to fulfil. You might be surprised at how you can utilise the time spent scrolling in chasing goals.

Make it less appealing

To reduce your screen time try turning your display to grayscale, lowering the brightness, and turning it to silent mode. In grayscale, everything on your screen appears in shades of grey, black, and white, which can be visually less stimulating compared to the vibrant, colourful icons and images in regular mode. This reduction in visual appeal can make you less inclined to spend excessive time on your phone, as it may feel less engaging and exciting in grayscale.



Both Android and iPhone have features to switch to grayscale. Or else, there are always apps. 

You can also distract your mind from your phone by engaging your other senses, such as smell and touch. Consider lighting scented candles or introducing fidget toys into your workspace.

Keep the phone out of the bedroom

In all probability, the phone is the last thing we see at night since many of us it as an alarm clock. Evidently, it’s the first thing we see in the morning before our bodies and minds are completely awake. 

Exposure to blue light can indeed disrupt our sleep quality. A study from 2017 found that ‘using social media within 30 minutes before bedtime independently leads to disturbed sleep in young adults.’

Even if you're not specifically using social media, the blue light emitted by your phone can still negatively affect your sleep. Additionally, when you reach for your phone as soon as the alarm goes off, you're not just waking up; you're also diving straight into your inbox. Even before your day starts you feel stressed about the tasks ahead. You didn't even realise but you end up spending more time in bed than intended. 

There is a solution. Before you go to sleep, avoid looking at screens for at least an hour.  Charge your phone in another room. If needed, buy an alarm clock.

Set Clear Work Boundaries

If your screen time is primarily related to work, it's important to establish clear boundaries. Set fixed working hours each day and communicate them to your clients and colleagues. This will help prevent work from encroaching on your personal time and reduce overall screen time.

Delete Time-consuming Apps

A smart way to cut down on your screen time is to uninstall apps you're addicted to. Deleting apps leads to reduced screen time, increased productivity, and improved mental health. But here's the twist – if you are having a severe FOMO you can always access them through their web versions when necessary. This definitely applies to social media and shopping apps. In the case of the latter, you are definitely saving time and money. 

Deleting your apps isn't just about freeing up your precious time; it's also a great way to declutter your device. But if deleting apps feels like a leap too far, you can at least hide the ones you want to use less. Make them vanish from your home screen, and, well, out of sight, out of mind!
 

Category : Productivity


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Written by Madhuwanti Saha

Writer, daydreamer, procrastinator