It's no secret that excessive screen time is detrimental to our physical, mental, and emotional health. Whether it's staring at your phone, watching too much television, or spending too much time on the computer, the amount of our lives spent looking at screens has proven to have a myriad of negative effects on us:
- vision impairment
- sleep deprivation
- weight gain
- social anxiety
- mental detriment
- posture problems
- growing "horns" (bone spurs) on our skulls
Obviously, you're reading this article via some form of screen just as we're writing it via a computer screen. Goes to say, we aren't telling you to swear off screens or throw away all your devices. That would just be unrealistic in a world where most jobs, relationships, lifestyles, etc. rely on the use of screens. We're simply suggesting that you reduce your screen time and use that time for something else... something better. Less screen time means more time to Live Wild.
Here's the first step to doing that:
Break Up With Your Phone
Out of all possible screen forms, our phones are probably the largest offenders. Studies show that the average person spends at least 3.5 hours a day on their phone. Those same studies also say that within those hours, people are picking up their phones 58 times and 70% of those pickups are for sessions of less than two minutes.
What do these statistics tell us? That we look at our phones entirely too much and for often unnecessary reasons.
So, if you're like us and would rather spend those 3 hours doing something else, here's a few ways to "break up with your phone."
1. Be aware
The first step to reducing your screen time is recognizing it and being aware. We remember when we first looked at the Screen Time feature on my iPhone, we were shocked. Most of us have no idea how much of our daily lives are devoted to those little devices in our hands. Go to the Settings in your smart phone and search for the Screen Time section to see just how much time you are giving to to your screen.
Once you see that, it becomes clear that a change needs to occur. So, start using the features available on your phone or download an app that will keep track of that screen usage data for you.
2. Set limits
Now that you know the issue, you can make changes. Discovering the App Limits setting was life-changing for us and we encourage everyone to find the same feature for your device too. It doesn't mean you have to completely restrict yourself from your daily Twitter fix, it just means you take a step to reduce the meaningless time you spend on those apps.
Start small: Look at how many hours you're spending on each app and set a limit that will reduce that by 10%. Then after a couple of weeks, set new restrictions to reduce it even more. Soon, you'll find these boundaries easier to uphold and begin to notice a change in your cellphone habits and tendencies.
Setting these limits for yourself won't immediately cure your cellphone addiction, but it will help you manage and maintain it.
3. Stay busy
Data showed that 90% of those pickups were taking place during work hours, revealing the distraction that our cellphones offer in times when we should be focused. Sure, most of us have jobs that require regular use of phones but that doesn't explain away all the times you grab your phone just to scroll Instagram for the 12th time before lunch. So, just push yourself to stay busy. Do what you can to resist the urge to check your phone:
- Keep it on silent!
- Put your phone across the room or in a different room entirely (out of sight, out of mind)
- Try to make it through the day with only 50% battery (it's possible, we promise)
- Turn off notifications for unnecessary things like social media
Remain engaged in whatever you're doing and don't settle to seek your phone as an escape from reality.
4. Choose better
Think of all the things you can do in 3.5 hours. Attend a college football game, drive to a national park, see a live musical, hangout with friends, play a tennis match, etc. The list goes on and every activity is a more valuable use of time than staring at your phone. Choose better for yourself. Choose to spend those hours doing something you love. Choose to look up and see something new rather than look down and see the same thing. A lot can happen in 3.5 hours. It probably won't happen if you're staring at a screen.
Wildway Co-founders, Kyle and Kelli, took steps to reduce their screen time in a Digital Detox. They did it, so can you!
Less screen time = more time to Live Wild. Be aware, set limits, stay busy, and choose better.