22 Best Ways to Reduce Screen Time and Be More Present

22 good tips to reduce screen time

Today, I want to talk to you about something that’s become increasingly important in our lives: the art of balancing screen time by looking for new ways to reduce screen time.

It’s something I’ve been pondering lately, and I thought it would be fantastic to talk to you about it.

No judgment here. I’m not here to tell you what to do. Instead, think of me as your trusted companion on this journey towards more mindful screen use.

We all know how easy it is to get lost in the digital world, but I’ve discovered some pretty cool strategies for reducing screen time that have helped me, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Life in the digital age can be a whirlwind, with notifications pinging left and right and endless scrolling, and before we know it, the day has slipped away.

But don’t fret, because I’ve been there too, and I’ve seen how a few simple changes can make a world of difference.

Whether you’re longing for more quality time with loved ones, hoping to boost your productivity, or simply yearning for a bit more peace in your day-to-day, we’ve got a lot to explore together.

Get ready to uncover the secrets to reducing screen time while nurturing your own growth and well-being.

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1. Set screen time limits and monitor screen time

Setting screen time limits is a crucial step in taking control of your digital life.

Most smartphones now come with features that allow you to set daily or weekly limits for specific apps or categories, like social media or games.

Monitoring your screen time lets you see where your time goes and helps you identify areas where you can cut back.

When you use these tools, you can gradually reduce your screen time and use your devices more intentionally.

2. Create a daily schedule

Creating a daily schedule is like having a roadmap for your day. It not only helps you organize your tasks but also ensures that you allocate time for activities that don’t involve screens.

Start by listing your daily tasks and responsibilities, such as work, chores, and exercise.

Then, make sure to include breaks for relaxation and screen-free activities like reading, going for a walk, or pursuing a hobby.

Having a schedule in place provides structure and helps you resist the temptation to mindlessly browse your devices.

3. Avoid video fatigue

Video fatigue is a real concern, especially with the increase in virtual meetings and online content consumption.

To combat it, remember to take short breaks between video calls or binge-watching sessions.

During these breaks, stretch your body, blink your eyes intentionally, and take a few deep breaths.

These simple actions can reduce physical and mental fatigue, making your screen time more manageable and comfortable.

a woman preparing for her screen-free routine

4. Use a physical alarm clock

Using a physical alarm clock instead of your smartphone can be a game-changer. When your phone is your alarm, it’s easy to start your day by checking notifications, emails, or social media.

A traditional alarm clock eliminates this temptation. It allows you to start your day with purpose and intention.

Invest in a reliable and easy-to-use physical alarm clock. There are different options available, from classic analog clocks to modern digital ones. Choose one that suits your style and needs.

Place the alarm clock across the room from your bed.

This forces you to physically get out of bed to turn it off, making it less likely that you’ll crawl back under the covers and start scrolling on your smartphone.

Here’s an alarm clock on wheels that’s just a life-changer.

Take advantage of the time you gain by not immediately checking your phone. Use this quiet, screen-free moment to establish a morning routine that sets a positive tone for the day.

You might want to meditate, stretch, or simply enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee or tea.

5. Disable notifications

Notifications can be incessant distractions, pulling your attention away from important tasks and leisure activities.

To regain control of your time, consider disabling non-essential notifications on your device.

This way, you can choose when to check messages and updates, reducing the constant interruptions that come with push notifications.

Instead of reacting to every notification as it arrives, schedule specific times to check your messages and updates. This way, you’re in charge of when you engage with your device.

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6. Designate screen-free zones

Creating specific screen-free zones in your home is among the best ways to reduce screen time that encourages more face-to-face interaction and relaxation.

Consider designating areas like the dining room or bedroom as places where screens are not allowed.

This separation can help you disconnect from your digital world, fostering a healthier balance between your online and offline lives.

You can also share the screen-free zone rules with everyone in your household or anyone who visits regularly. Explain why you’ve established these zones and the benefits they offer.

a woman sitting behind a screen

7. Practice the 20-20-20 rule

Staring at screens for extended periods can strain your eyes and lead to discomfort. To combat this, try practicing the 20-20-20 rule.

Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away.

This simple eye exercise can help reduce eye strain, refresh your vision, and maintain your focus during screen-intensive tasks.

8. Set app usage restrictions

Many smartphones offer app usage restrictions that allow you to set daily time limits for specific apps or categories.

If you find certain apps consuming too much of your time, use these controls to set boundaries.

When you approach your daily limit for an app, you’ll receive reminders, helping you make conscious choices about how you use your device.

9. Choose non-digital hobbies

Exploring hobbies that don’t involve screens can be incredibly fulfilling.

Whether it’s painting, gardening, playing a musical instrument, or crafting, these activities provide a wonderful opportunity to disconnect from screens and tap into your creativity.

Consider dedicating some time each day or week to pursue these non-digital interests and watch how they enrich your life.

10. Read physical books

Reading physical books is a fantastic way to reduce screen time while stimulating your mind. Instead of reaching for your e-reader or smartphone, grab a paperback or hardcover book.

Reading not only helps you unwind but also broadens your horizons, transports you to different worlds, and deepens your knowledge.

11. Engage in outdoor activities

Spending time outdoors is a surefire way to break free from screens. Activities like hiking, biking, or simply taking a short walk in nature provide a refreshing change of pace.

Nature not only recharges your energy but also allows you to connect with the world beyond the digital realm.

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12. Plan tech-free meals

Mealtimes offer a perfect opportunity to disconnect from screens and connect with loved ones. Make it a habit to have tech-free meals with family or friends.

Use this time to engage in meaningful conversations. You can discuss your day, share stories, or talk about future plans.

Encourage everyone to actively participate. This practice fosters meaningful conversations, promotes mindful eating, and strengthens bonds.

13. Limit social media usage

Social media can be a major time sink.

If you’re looking for new ways to reduce screen time, consider setting specific time limits for your social media apps or even scheduling designated times of day to check them.

By reducing the frequency of your visits and time spent on social media, you can free up more time for activities that matter most to you.

14. Unplug before bedtime and keep screens out of the bedroom

Quality sleep is essential for overall well-being. To improve your sleep hygiene, make it a rule to unplug from screens at least an hour before bedtime.

The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your sleep patterns.

Also, keeping screens out of your bedroom can create a more peaceful and restful environment conducive to a good night’s sleep.

15. Use paper to-do lists

While digital productivity tools are handy, using paper to-do lists can help limit screen time and improve focus.

Jot down your tasks, goals, and priorities on paper. This allows you to stay organized without constantly looking at a screen.

Besides, there’s a sense of satisfaction in physically crossing off completed tasks.

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16. Meet friends in person

In our digital age, it’s easy to rely on messaging apps and social media to stay connected with friends.

However, nothing beats meeting friends in person. Arrange outings, coffee dates, or gatherings to strengthen your relationships and enjoy meaningful, screen-free interactions.

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17. Try meditation or mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness practices offer a peaceful escape from the digital hustle and bustle.

Even just a few minutes of daily meditation can help reduce stress and increase your awareness of the present moment.

Many smartphone apps can guide you through mindfulness exercises, but remember to use them mindfully and avoid getting lost in endless meditation app sessions.

18. Remove unnecessary apps

Take a look at your device and identify apps that no longer serve a purpose or consume too much of your time.

Deleting or hiding unnecessary apps can make it less tempting to engage in mindless scrolling or gaming.

Organize the remaining apps into folders or categories. This can make it easier to find what you need and reduce visual clutter on your device’s home screen.

19. Limit binge-watching

While binge-watching can be a fun way to unwind, it’s essential to set limits. Consider watching one or two episodes at a time rather than an entire season in one sitting.

This moderation can help you strike a balance between screen entertainment and other activities.

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20. Use a grayscale display

Changing your device’s display to grayscale is one of the best ways to reduce screen time because it can make it less visually stimulating.

This can reduce the allure of colorful apps and encourage more intentional use of your device.

How to use a grayscale display for iOS (iPhone/iPad):

  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Scroll down and tap on “Accessibility.”
  3. Tap on “Display & Text Size.”
  4. Under “Color Filters,” toggle on “Color Filters.”
  5. Select “Grayscale” from the options.

How to use a grayscale display for Android (which may vary depending on the device and version):

  1. Open the “Settings” app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on “Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls.”
  3. Look for “Bedtime Mode.”.
  4. Enable the option to turn your screen grayscale.
  5. Depending on your device, you may find the grayscale option under “Accessibility” or “Display.”.

21. Install website blockers

If you find certain websites or social media platforms particularly distracting, consider installing website blockers or time-tracking extensions.

These tools can help you stay on track and limit your access to specific sites during designated periods.

22. Set device curfews

Establishing a device curfew can be a game-changer. Decide on a time each night when you’ll turn off your devices or put them on “do not disturb” mode.

This practice creates a clear boundary between screen time and relaxation, allowing you to unwind without digital distractions.

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FAQ: Why is it important to look for new ways to reduce screen time?

You know, looking for ways to reduce your screen time is like taking care of your well-being and happiness.

It’s important because spending too much time staring at screens can have some not-so-great effects on your life.

First off, our eyes and bodies can get tired and strained from all that screen gazing.

You might have noticed your eyes feeling dry or your neck and back getting sore after a long session on your device. Reducing screen time can help us feel physically better.

But it’s not just about our bodies; it’s also about our minds. Scrolling through social media or watching TV for hours can make us feel a bit disconnected from the real world.

We might miss out on quality time with loved ones or the chance to explore new hobbies and interests.

Besides, screens can sometimes be a bit addicting. It’s easy to get lost in them and forget about the time.

By finding new ways to reduce screen time, we’re taking control of our digital habits and making more space for things that truly make us happy, like spending time with family and friends, reading, or enjoying outdoor activities.

What are your favorite ways to reduce screen time?

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