Life is short. How much of yours is spent looking at a screen? As you strive for the best work/life balance, consider ways you can live a full life with less screen time.
Set a Timer.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn… those along with other social media platforms have a way of sucking us in and keeping us engaged. In 2018, internet users worldwide averaged 136 minutes of social media usage per day. Another handy feature of smart phones is the timer. Set it for what you consider a reasonable amount of social media time each day. Then, as you experience how much more you accomplish with less social media, consider gradually cutting back that time. (This can also apply to those addictive smart phone games like Candy Crush).
Enjoy Your Meal.
Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, make meal time “screenless.” If your family is anything like mine growing up, dinners were typically served on trays in front of the TV. It was nice watching the same television program together, but the conversation was lacking. Eating meals together without electronics will facilitate more discussions with your family members that can help the relationships grow. For those who live alone, meals can be a great time to catch up on that book that has been ignored on your nightstand for far too long. Find another use for the TV trays.
Designate parts of your home as screen free zones. Good places to start are bedrooms. While watching Netflix in bed can be a cozy idea, it doesn’t help your sleeping habits. Make your sofa the cozy spot. Let the dining room be another area that is screen-less. Consider making even your nightstand a screen-free zone, particularly for your phone. Set a nightly charging station away from your bedside. This will help prevent pre-sleep scrolling which is proven to decrease the quality of a restful night’s sleep. It can also stop early-morning social media time which doesn’t always help you begin the day off in the best mood. Starting with these three screen-free zones, you’ll likely find yourself more relaxed and productive while at home.
Succeeding in your career can bring great professional and personal satisfaction as well as financial benefits. This success often comes with hard work and sacrifice. However, if your goal is to lessen your screen time, consider creating boundaries. When at home after work or over the weekend, it can be tempting to quickly hop online or log in from your phone to check your work email. Before you know it, two or more hours of work have passed. Let your personal time be just that: your personal time. If your job requires more attention during off hours, have certain times of the evening and weekend designated as the time you’ll check in and have a limit to the amount of time you’ll spend responding.
Stop Being “Pushed.”
Your phone can light up and vibrate several times during the day with push notifications from your various apps. Very few of these are important or require your immediate attention. More often, though, they do result in you opening the application and spending time looking at a screen. To avoid inviting distractions into your day, turn off most of your push notifications, especially on apps that are not vital to your life.
Get a Hobby.
Sometimes, screen time is just a habit, an easy go-to when another activity doesn’t come to mind. To cut down on your screen time, have alternatives ready. Is there a hobby you’ve wanted to start or one you’ve been missing? Ever thought of taking up crocheting? Do you have a stack of unread books? Are there projects going undone? Make a list of possibilities you can use to fill your time when it otherwise might default to a screen-oriented option.
We live in a world of technology. Time with a television, laptop, tablet, and smart phone is inevitable. With some strategic planning, you can make sure you’re living life to the fullest and not through a screen.