I Cut My Phone Screen Time in Half – Here’s How I Did It

When Apple first introduced the screen time feature on iPhones, I was excited. I thought it would be so interesting to see the breakdown of how I spend time on my phone. However, once I got the update that allowed this feature, I was shocked – my screen time was way higher than I expected it to be. I told myself,  “Okay, I have been on my phone a lot today; it’ll be better tomorrow.” But my screen time was not better the next day. Or the day after that. Once I realized that I was actually using my phone that much, I made the decision to simply ignore the feature that I was once excited about. Of course, I would occasionally stumble across my screen time and instantly become embarrassed. I knew that I needed to spend less time on my phone, but I did not do anything about reducing my screen time. That is, not until a few weeks ago.

I decided to monitor my screen time after watching the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. The documentary was assigned in one of my classes because we were discussing how social media companies use algorithms to keep users engaged in order to earn more money. I recommend anyone who is interested in reducing their screen time to watch this documentary – it will make you look at social media in a new light. Personally, the documentary left me feeling used by social media companies.

The first thing that I did to reduce my screen time (and arguably the most important thing) was putting time limits on several apps. I know this sounds like a scary step, but it is important. Some of the apps I put limits on include TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. An important part of this step is setting limits that are not drastic. For example, I have a one-hour limit on TikTok. An hour allows me plenty of time to scroll, but does not let me do it endlessly. It was important for me to put limits on all of the apps that I cycle through. I did not put limits on apps that I use for communication such as Snapchat.

Photo via Pixabay on Pexels

The second thing I did was actively monitor where and when I was using my phone. You will be surprised at all the times you randomly reach for your phone when you don’t need to. For example, I found myself reaching for my phone while I was walking down the sidewalk. I knew I needed to make some changes. I completely stopped using my phone during Zoom classes. When I am doing homework, I set my phone across the room. If I am waiting for an appointment, instead of looking at my phone, I just take in the environment around me. Once you distance yourself from your phone, you will feel a million times better.

I have been so proud of myself for making the decision to limit my screen time. And I have felt so much better over the past couple of weeks. I hope this article inspires you to reflect on your own phone usage and provides you with some helpful tips to make the change.