If you have decluttered your physical items and are keeping on top of your space, you may be looking at other areas of your life to cut back on- such as a bad habit. One of these could be the amount of time you spend looking at a screen. While some screen time is unavoidable, such as looking at a computer during work hours- others are entirely in our control. If this is a goal you have set for yourself, here are just a few ideas to prize yourself away from your TV, phone or I-pad.
- Have a designated part of each day for screen time: Set a specific time or a time frame when you can look at your devices. This might be once you’ve clocked off from work or after your kids go to bed. Choose a time or give yourself a total of one hour (for instance) when you can look at a screen. Anything outside of this is off limits. If it helps, turn your devices off completely so you aren’t tempted by the lights indicating messages or new notifications.
- Pursue a hobby that doesn’t involve a screen: The trouble is- most of our favourite things to do are on devices- watching movies, playing games, shopping etc, so it’s important to find a passion in something that doesn’t involve one. Try some gardening, reading a book or magazine instead of an e-book or publication, walking, crafting, cooking- anything you enjoy doing that you could embrace more of if you weren’t distracted by a screen. The more you learn to immerse yourself in these activities and incorporate them into your day, the less you will be tempted by the devices that once held endless fascination.
- Invest more time in the people you care about: Rather than texting someone, write them a letter or call around to their home (if the restrictions will allow). Instead of watching a show with your partner- go to bed and share some intimate time. If you have a hobby that a friend or family member also enjoys- make an effort to do this more together rather than just bonding over it on Facebook.
- Try to break the habit: As with any habit- they are hard to break and require a distraction or diversion when you can feel yourself slipping. So every time you reach for your phone or the remote- go and do something- anything else. Load the dishwasher, tidy up, do some organising, talk to someone, go for a walk- take your mind of wanting to look at a screen. This will be challenging at first, but the more you do it- the easier it will be to fill your life full of things that don’t involve your phone or your TV. You will probably have a much tidier house too!
- Keep a journal: Make a note each day of all the things you were able to do because you weren’t absorbed by a screen. They don’t have to be long but lines like ‘I played tennis with my sister’ or ‘I had a long talk with my partner’ show that meaningful experiences happen when you take a screen detox.
- Turn back the clock: Pretend for a moment that phones don’t have access to the internet or that books only come in the paperback variety, that newspapers can only be read if you buy one from the corner shop or that messages have to be hand delivered. Try to dial back the years and live a little more simply. You used to cope with one house phone between your entire family so why can’t you do this again? You could trial this and other challenges for a few days or longer and see how it feels afterwards. You might find that you don’t want to go back to the way things were.
- Eliminate or reduce distractions: Disable apps on your phone that you use daily, unplug the TV in your bedroom, cancel a contract for a streaming service, don’t charge your I-pad or Kindle once it runs out power, loan or sell your games and movies to other people. If you remove the temptations and make it an effort to get them back, you are more likely to do without.
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