It has been a year since the Covid pandemic hit us and since most of us started Working From Home. We somehow managed to stay alive during this crazy last year and also managed to keep our work going, and more importantly adapted to this new “Locked Down Lifestyle”.
Since the long hours of commute have disappeared, giving us approximately 3 hours of bonus time daily, I was hopeful that I will make good use of this newfound time in life for my betterment. But truth to be told, I didn’t any done. Forget about improvement, I slowly, steadily, and massively got addicted to the screens. My screen time had reached an alarming level. Simply put, I was not using my phone, my phone was using me. Read that again and you will realize the seriousness of the situation.
Determined to take back control of my attention, I did some research and tried a few things before settling down to the below ideas that I want to share with you. The basis of these ideas is to identify what time of the day and when you end up wasting time on screens, phone screens to be precise. For me, it was as below:-
1- At night in my bed before eventually falling asleep and first thing in the morning. During both of these periods, I would lose hours of time and also would feel lethargic and lazy.
2- The phone screen was a major distraction when I was trying to work at my desk!
3- Hours and hours would just fly away when I would tango with my phone on the sofa. You get what I mean!
The most effective way to reduce screen time was to make it difficult for me to access my phone in the first place. So here is what I do now.
1- I have set an alarm for 10.30 pm each night which I call a “Get into bed” alarm. Starting at this time, I try to keep my phone in a different room and get into bed with a book to read or a journal to write down some ideas. The script for this artcile was essentially written in the same manner. You can excuse this rule by listening to soulful music, audiobooks, or podcasts. But strictly no eyes glued to the screen business.
2- When I wake up in the morning, I refrain from using my phone until I sit down to eat my breakfast. This gives me a good chunk of time after waking up to exercise, meditate, study, or anything that I aspire to complete.
3- I have made a designated spot that involves a plastic chair which is pretty uncomfortable to sit for a long time. When I want to indulge in screen activity, I sit at this spot on this chair and then complete my social media cravings. Again I have set an alarm called “Get To Work”. So once this alarm goes off, my social media time is over and I have to get onto my desk.
4- At my desk, I keep my phone at a distance from where I can see the OTPs required for work but I have to get up to use the phone. Getting up from the chair every now and then is pain and hence, results in less phone usage.
5- Many times, I have struggled to complete unexciting tasks, and at such times I play nonlyrical music or some podcasts in the background.
6- To make the phone screen unattractive, I use this option called Grayscale mode. This basically turns your phone screen into Grey. Every smartphone has this feature these days. You can google it to check how to enable it on your phone. This works well in not letting our eyes get distracted by shiny objects, breaking news banners, or beautiful faces. Our eyes are the most sensitive among the 5 senses and that means they quickly derail our focus and attention. I highly recommend you try this.
7- Like the people who are into gyming or dieting, I also follow a cheat day. One day during the weekend, I let myself slip into screen addiction. Earlier I used to look forward to this cheat day, but once I experienced the positive change resulting due to reduced screen time I am not interested in the cheat day anymore.
8- I will be honest with you, there have been many days when… for whatever reason, I have ended spending a considerable amount of time staring at screens. But I will try my best to recover for the second day. i.e. I don’t let the habit slip for 2 consecutive days.
9- You might not be able to inculcate all the points that I have mentioned above right from Day-1. Just start with one initially until it becomes part of your nature and then you could move on to others.
I have been following this for the last 2 months, and the number of positive changes in my life is just incredible. More importantly, I am using my phone rather than my phone using me.
So please try to implement whatever works for you from the above 9 tips and let me know your feedback and suggestions. Also, please share this article with your friends and family. I have also created a Youtube Audio only version of this which you can find here
I wish you the best of luck and cheers!