For most of us, a large part of our day requires us to look at a screen of some description. Excessive screen time can cause eye damage as well as affect our posture and mood.
Unfortunately, many of our leisure activities such as video games, film and TV also add to the amount of time we are passively watching a display. While it is impossible to completely escape the screen, there are ways to reduce the time you place your eyes and brain under the screen strain.
Here are 11 easy ways to reduce your screen time.
1. Eat your meals without a screen
It may be tempting to use your meal breaks as a time to catch up on online news or social media. But by banning the screen during these breaks you’ll not only give your eyes a rest, you will likely enjoy your food more.
2. Limit your non-work screen time
Don’t check your work emails or communication channels at home. While in a cutthroat corporate world it feels urgent to stay ahead of the game, constantly checking your work email while at home increases your exposure to the screen and also raises your stress levels.
Leave your work at work.
3. Don’t watch movies or TV in bed
Watching films and TV is undoubtedly enjoyable, but try and do this on your couch rather than in your bed.
Watching from your couch makes it easier to stop watching that addictive TV show rather than pressing play on the next episode if you are already in cozy in bed.
4. Cut down on computer socializing
The internet gives us thousands of ways to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world. But constant chatting means our eyes are down on our phones and other devices an excessive amount.
If possible try and schedule phone calls with distant loved ones and make face-to-face catch ups with closer relatives.
5. Set a timer
Keeping up to date on your social media channels is fun and socially very important for many users. But these channels can also be a big time waster for many people.
If you enjoy Facebook, Instagram or community boards try and set a limit of how much time per day you will spend there. The next step is to gradually reduce this, particularly on days where your screen usage is high for other reasons.
6. Ban phone charging from the bedroom
Don’t charge your phone next to your bed as it will tempt you to check for messages or even the time if you wake during the night. Looking at your phone's screen just before bed has been shown to disrupt the sleep patterns of some people too.
7. Take up another hobby for boredom
Many of us turn to Facebook and Instagram feeds to stave off boredom. Next time you have some time to kill or just feel the urge to aimlessly scroll through social media try and pick up a book, do a craft activity or take a walk.
8. Schedule a meeting phone call instead of using chat
It is easy to get dragged into long online conversations with co-workers that could have been easily resolved with just a short conversation. Try and use the phone or set up face-to-face meetings as an alternative to lengthy screen based chats.
9. Think of other ways to access information
Instead of always turning to Google for a recipe, home hints or facts. Take a visit to your local library, phone a friend or look for a book in your own collection that can answer your query.
10. Get your news in a condensed feed
The internet has provided us with a wealth of ways to access news. But trawling through headlines to make sense of the latest events can take time and means hours glued to your device.
Try and find a reliable news source you like and subscribe to their daily updates that allows you to quickly scan headlines for things of interest rather than dive into a black hole of information.
11. Exercise as you watch
If you do have to spend a lot of time in front of the screen or just can’t stop watching reruns of Friends try and combine this time with some exercise. Lots of simple stretches and workouts can be done from the comfort of your couch or living room floor.
At least this way your screen time is being used to help you in other parts of your life.