7 Ways to Reduce Your Screen Time

Studying and working on assignments requires spending a large amount of time staring at a screen. This means it’s extra important to cut down on screen time in other ways. The biggest problem is likely your phone. Most people turn to their phones whenever they have some downtime purely out of habit, but there are several ways you can learn to cut down to benefit your health — both physically and mentally.

1. Make Checking Your Phone a Conscious Action

Many people check their phones regularly for no real reason. Whenever you take your phone out, think about what you’re going to look at. Avoid opening your favourite social media app and just mindlessly scrolling.

2. Track App Usage

Check screen time for specific apps to find out where you’re spending the majority of your time. You may be unaware of just how many hours are going toward a particular app. Once you do know, you can set reasonable limits. In fact, it may be worth gradually decreasing the time you allow yourself to spend on each app to ease yourself into healthier habits.

3. Keep Your Phone Away from Your Bed

It’s best to stay away from screens for at least two hours before you go to bed. Otherwise, your mind will be too active and you’ll struggle to fall asleep. Better still, keep your phone out of reach to prevent temptations. This will also help you to get up in the morning, as you’ll be unable to stay in bed reading messages.

4. Turn Off Notifications

If your phone is constantly dinging, it can be difficult to avoid looking at it. You may even receive notifications you don’t care about — the problem is that once you’ve glanced at the screen, you’ll undoubtedly think of something you do want to check. You can avoid this by turning off notifications for all but the essential apps. Furthermore, you should change how the app notifies you to make it less distracting. Finally, it’s worth setting up modes for focus and sleep.

5. Use Grayscale

Your phone will be less appealing if the display is in grayscale: removing colour will help you do just what you unlocked your phone to do and nothing else. Productivity experts frequently recommend this tactic, as it reportedly helps with feelings of addiction toward your phone. On an iPhone, you can set a shortcut to switch to colour when you need it and then back to grayscale by tapping the home button three times.

6. Have Screen-Free Time with Friends

Involve your friends in your efforts to reduce screen time — the likelihood is they’d benefit just as much as you. For instance, commit to calling each other more often instead of texting back and forth, or have get-togethers without screens, such as to practise sports, play boardgames, or cook meals.

7. Delete Apps

If all else fails, you may need to take the nuclear option and delete all apps that are wasting your time from your phone. There’s no need for this to be a long-term solution — just keeping apps you don’t need off your phone for a few days (such as around when a big project is due or when you’re preparing for midterms) can be hugely beneficial.

One place many students tend to spend a large amount of time staring at screens is in their student apartments. Ottawa students can find activities that involve zero screen time by living at 1Eleven. You’ll have the chance to hang out with other people in places like the games room and communal kitchen or you can spend time alone without any screens at the 24-hour fitness centre. Apply now to secure your spot while suites are still available.

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