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Cut Back Smartphone Use & Boost Productivity: 5 Easy Ways to Do It

Our screen time averages out to about 6.3 hours every day. Of those hours, about four are spent on our phones.1 Added up over a week, that’s 28 hours, or more than a full day every week, spent looking at our phones. Of course, cutting that time back can feel next to impossible, with social media, email and other apps beckoning for our attention at all hours of the day. However, the hours spent scrolling can be harmful to both your health and productivity. We’re offering a few easy tips you can take to be more conscious about your screen time in an effort to boost your personal productivity. 

Tip #1: Track Your Screen Time 

Do you ever wonder how much time is actually spent on your phone? Most smartphones can tell you. By enabling the screen time tracker on your smartphone, you can take the guesswork out of understanding how much time is spent daily or weekly on your phone. In addition, most trackers can identify what apps you are spending the most time on (social media, email, games, etc.). This can provide an insightful look into your smartphone habits and empower you to break the cycle.

If you’ve found that the app you spend the most time on requires a password (such as a social media platform), opt-out of the auto-login. Instead, force yourself to enter your username and password every time you wish to use the app. 

Tip #2: Rearrange Your Apps  

Think about the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s not unlikely that the apps shown first on your smartphone are the ones you gravitate towards the most. Something as simple as “hiding” the app farther away from your home screen could help you break the pattern of opening your phone and selecting your favorite app to peruse. 

Tip #3: Choose Phone-Free Times

Do you scroll through your phone when you first wake up in the morning? Or maybe you stay on your phone until you fall asleep at night? Intentionally putting your phone away at the times that you know you tend to waste the most can be a useful habit to form. While it’s easier said than done, simply selecting a few times throughout the day to intentionally put down your phone can make cutting screen time a more attainable goal. 

Tip #4: Limit Your Notifications  

In your phone settings, you can choose which apps are allowed to send you notifications. The idea behind limiting these notifications is simple - if you aren’t notified, you’ll be less likely to open an app. If you find that the apps you’re spending the most time on are also the ones you receive notifications for, this could be a good indicator that it’s time to readjust your notification settings. If you’re able to, try limiting your notifications to critical communications such as email and texts, and opt for silencing bigger distractions like games, social media, news or sports apps, etc. 

Tip #5: Encourage Friends To Cutback Too  

Find a few friends who are also trying to limit their phone time, and join in on a phone cleanse together. Having friends who are doing the same thing will not only hold you accountable, but it can help motivate everyone involved to be more intentional with their screen time. If you’re looking to do something together, plan a meet up at your local coffee shop to get work done, read or enjoy engaging conversations -  anything that keeps you from scrolling through your phones. 

In the end, it takes personal determination to cut back use of your smartphone and boost your personal productivity throughout the day. But once you’re able to gain control of the time and effort previously spent scrolling, you may find more freedom to better enjoy life in the moment.  

  1. https://www.statista.com/chart/18347/hours-spent-on-digital-media/

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