During these strange and unusual times, a lot of us have turned to technology to help cope and distract us from the outside world. Technology has provided a lot of connection and entertainment during lockdown, however it is also important to put it aside every so often and focus on the outside world. This is important not only to support mental wellbeing but there are many other benefits to reducing screen time which I am going to share with you today.
This might seem like an obvious one but don’t under estimate the importance of taking care of your mental health and stepping away from screens can help this. I don’t know about you but sometimes over lockdown in particular I have felt a bit overwhelmed by my phone and the crazy amount of Zoom and video calls I had. To try and alleviate this pressure I actively decided to have at least one no phone day a week, which felt difficult to begin with but made such a difference to my relationship with technology as I no longer felt the need to keep checking it every few minutes and I could put my time and energy into more productive tasks.
I am sure I am not the only one who procrastinates when they have a deadline approaching, and technology can provide a big distraction that hinders our productivity further. By reducing screen time or blocking time wasting apps, you are forcing yourself to complete tasks quicker and with less interferences. There are several ways you can ensure you aren’t distracted, for example some phones have a screen time setting pre-installed where you can limit the amount of time you spend on certain apps a day.
There are also apps like Flora and Forest which you can download for free or a small cost, which you can use to lock your phone for different lengths of time. The longer you are focused the more trees you plant as both these apps convert the time you put into the app into planting new trees across the world. Or if you would rather a simple approach turn your phone off completely as you will not feel the need to keep checking it then!
Improved Sleep Schedule
Another commonly known perk of reducing screen time is a better sleep schedule. Research suggests to put your phone away at least an hour before bed as it allows the brain to relax and I have found this to be accurate on so many occasions! Most people are aware that the blue light from a screen harms sleeping schedules too, so if you are unable to turn your phone off before bed then if could be worth investigating if your phone has a blue light filter that can be switched on early in the morning and later at night. It is also important to place the phone out of eye line when in bed as this can reduce temptation to check it or turn it on when you are supposed to be sleeping.
Reducing screen time also improves focus for the day as you can appreciate the little things around you that you might miss when glued to a phone screen. I found that even small steps like going for a walk without your phone or not switching my phone on first thing in the morning allows you to focus on your surroundings more and acknowledge the smaller things that make you happy.
As lockdown is slowly reduced further it can be really important to appreciate the little things that make life so special to each of us. If you haven’t spent a day without your phone yet, I urge you to give it a try and see what you learn from the experience.