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Chances are that you clicked on this article because you want to stop aimlessly scrolling through Instagram… Unfortunately my solutions will not correct that behavior immediately, but if you stick with them, I know they will help you! I am very confident that several of these solutions will reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone or computer because I tried them myself, so let’s get started!

1. Set Time Limits on Your Most Used Apps

Of all the ways to limit your screen time, this has to be the simplest (as long as you have some self-control to stick to the time limits). Assuming you have an iPhone – sorry, Android users! – these are the steps you should take once you open Settings: Screen Time, App Limits, Add Limit. Now comes the fun part: if you know that you are only having issues being stuck on your phone for social media apps, you can limit the amount of time you spend each day only on those apps. I set a limit of two and a half hours each day for TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat combined. When you spend the amount of time that you decide is your maximum, you’ll be given a choice of pushing it off for another minute, another 15 minutes, the rest of the day or you can actually follow the time limit. Self-control is key, and remember that your end goal is to stop being on those apps as much! I would advise you to give yourself plenty of time at first so you aren’t as startled by seeing that your time is up, but slowly create less and less time for yourself. You will notice that you aren’t even hitting your time limit each day, and that realization will help you maintain that behavior.

2. Move Apps Out of Your Sight

Whether you move the apps into random folders that you never look at or off of your home screen entirely, keeping the apps that you constantly find yourself addicted to off of your main screen can help a lot. For iPhone users, this would mean not having the addictive apps on your first home screen or along the bottom. Try moving your apps off of your home screen, so if you really want to use them, you have to search for them. This should reduce your willingness by making you think more carefully about your decision. If your most addictive apps are out of sight they’ll be out of your mind too!

3. Find Activities that Don’t Require Technology

This is a solution that I think many more of us can imagine thanks to lockdown and quarantine. I have always been an avid reader but lockdown gave me much more time to get into all of the books I was eager to read-and I’ve maintained that behavior even now. If you have a hobby that doesn’t require your phone or computer (painting, baking, knitting, reading, playing an instrument, etc.), try turning to that when you feel like you want to or already are spending too much time on your devices. Not only can you get better at doing something you love when you give it more of your energy but you also get a break from the stress and pressure of the online world.

4. Focus Feature

If you find it impossible to get completely immersed with an offline activity because your phone continues to go off with notifications, I would highly recommend the newest feature on iPhones – sorry again, Android users! – called Focus. The crescent moon icon used to strictly mean Do Not Disturb, but it is now redesigned as a way for you to customize exactly who you want to be able to reach during specific times of the day. For example, I set up a Work Focus for when I have classes or work; that way I don’t get distracted by Instagram notifications but I know if my mom texts me in case there’s an emergency. You can set up a Personal Focus to limit notifications from apps that may easily captivate you so you can attempt going offline for a little while.

Hopefully these ways of limiting your screen time help you on your journey to break the habit we all have of sitting on our phones for hours. It really is a much healthier shift, and even if you are able to decrease the amount of time you spend on your phone by a few minutes each day, you will feel a difference for the better!

Ashley is majoring in English Literature and Psychology at Elon University. She is from South Florida and loves to spend time relaxing at the beach! On campus, she serves as Copy Editor for Elon's yearbook and works at Elon's Writing Center. In her free time, you can find her reading thrillers, writing poetry, taking bubble baths, or shopping online!
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