Four Tips to Reduce Screen Time This Summer

I do everything on my phone. That is an exaggeration but close enough to the truth. But the bulk of my information and entertainment comes through my phone. 

Sometimes I even work on the blog on my phone. Every Sunday morning I get a notification that tells me about my screen time for the past week. Between social media; news, podcasts, and audio books; and entertainment like video and music streaming I average a little over three hours a day. Three Hours A DAY! I think next Halloween I’ll dress up as this screen time tracking app. It can be quite frightening.

The Bermuda Rectagle

Luckily the app shows how my time usage breaks down between categories and “information and reading” is my second largest category. Drum roll for what gets the most time… You guessed it! Social Media. For me this is mostly Facebook and Instagram. I do manage the blog page, admin for a couple of groups I am in, and have a personal profile. But I have to look in the mirror and ask myself, “What am I doing for nearly two hours every day?” Seriously, what am I doing? More importantly, how do we avoid this time sucking vortex that is scrolling down our social media feeds?

I’ve realized that if I want my kids to have interests and activities that don’t involve a screen, then I need to lead by example. You all get to have a front row seat to my Screen Time Reduction Experient. I will employ these four strategies over the next few weeks and then give an update on how I’m doing. You can follow them too and let me know how it goes by leaving a comment.

Set a time limit on scroll time

One of the biggest time wasters is simply scrolling down through my social media feeds to see what everyone has posted. I pick it up between work tasks and end up scrolling for several minutes. Or I intend to check messages and hit that Instagram icon instead. Tell me I’m not alone in that one! So now, no more random scroll-fests! I will give myself ten minutes after lunch to check in on my social pages and make posts. Then in the evening I will give myself up to half an hour to scroll and see what my friends and family are up to. This should be plenty of time. I’ll keep myself accountable to these limits by setting the timer. When it rings the app gets closed.

Unfollow tons of groups that clog up my feed

I recently left a Facebook group because I realized that I don’t need to keep seeing people I don’t know ask for advice about this or that and read thirty comments that have nothing to do with me. It’s a big time waste. This week I’m going to reevaluate all the groups that I am in and unfollow several. 

Plan times to specifically be outside

You knew I was going to get to this point eventually! The best alternative to the mind numbing blue light waves of your phone or tablet is fresh air. I have already made space in our regular routines for outdoor time so this one is sort of taken care of. But I still have a few hikes and one camping trip to plan.

Time together on the trail

Start/have a hands on hobby

I already love to knit and crochet. These are relaxing activities that also produce something of value at the end. Giving handmade gifts is always enjoyable. Putting time into these occupies my time in a much more valuable way than screen time. I also like to listen to news or audiobooks while I do them. Lately though I have wanted to expand my hobby horizons and learn to draw. I bought some inexpensive supplies and guidebooks. We’ll see how this goes, but the time and efforts will be better spent in attempting to draw than reading one more comment thread.

I made this!

My goal is to get my “information and reading” category to surpass the time that I spend on social media. With setting limits and spending my time on more productive pursuits, I think I will have good news to report on this in a few weeks time.

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