Managing your screentime: Four top tips to help you find your healthy tech balance
Follow these simple tips to ensure you and your family forge a healthy relationship with technology
It can be hard to break away from deeply ingrained habits, like checking your phone every 20 minutes, watching Netflix while you eat, and scrolling before sleeping. But just like striking a healthy balance of work and life outside of work, there is your tech / body balance to consider. Often, and especially in lockdown, work and leisure time both involve screen time. It is more important than ever to
reflect on how much of it is entertaining and necessary.
Our physical bodies aren’t designed to be stimulated all of the time, which is what happens when we are plugged in to our devices, which continually interrupt us with information, sound and images. Taking a break to recharge without stimulation is essential in alleviating stress and improving mental wellness. It isn’t so much about taking a digital detox, but about managing our relationship with technology so that it can elevate our productivity and flexibility without holding us back.
Defend your sleep:
If you’re an iOS user, pop your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode before heading to bed. This will ensure no notifications will wake you from your slumber.
If you are nervous you would miss an important call, you can set up contacts as ‘Favourites’ which means if they call when you have DND mode on, your phone will still notify you and ring aloud. If you are on Android, ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode is also available, with the same functionality – you can set up rules for which contacts can bypass DND mode.
If you have an alarm clock, then charge your phone in a separate room of the house while you sleep. Separating yourself from your phone at night can mean when you enter your bedroom, you can focus on winding down and making a space for screen-free time in your life.
This suggestion is in a similar vein as to why psychologists recommend we do not work from bed, it blurs boundaries and makes the whole house feel less relaxing because there isn’t a protected space to relax.
Walk and talk:
Harvard Business Review have reported that those who participate in walking meetings are 5.25% more likely to report being creative at their jobs than those who do not.
The responses from those that participated in their study suggest that walking meetings support cognitive engagement, or focus, on the job. Those who participate in walking meetings are 8.5% more likely to report high levels of engagement. During lockdown, if you can shift a video call to a walking conference it means less screen time as well as an opportunity to exercise.
Driving is an obvious activity that we should all be doing without the distraction of a screen. Talking on the on phone (not hands-free), texting, snapchatting, emailing, whatever the reason for picking up your device is, you are 400% more likely to be involved in a car accident or crash. It is also illegal.
Both iOS and Android have specific ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ modes. If someone texts or calls while you have this mode on, you can have a custom text automatically sent out that lets them know you are driving and will respond when you are able. You can see how to set these up here:
Mute notifications for any apps that don’t serve a necessity! You can manage which apps you would like to hear from and make it worth checking your phone to see why it buzzed.
Even if it is just temporarily like muting your work emails and work chat groups over the weekends/at night, or muting everything for a whole day! You can then still use your phone for music or maps, without being coerced into checking all your notifications and therefore spending more time on your phone.
Hopefully these tips will help you discover where your technology and body balance lies, and how to better manage screen time going forward.