How to reduce screen time during quarantine

mobile and laptop

In this blog, I will share 5 techniques that I use to reduce my screen time during quarantine

Way back in 2011, when I was traveling in a crowded metro in Hong Kong, I noticed everyone was looking at their phones. I thought they were probably reading news or checking mails, however I noticed the person standing next to me make abrupt movements

On closer examination, I found he was playing a game on his mobile. Curious I peeped around and realised not everyone were reading. They were wiling away their time browsing or playing games

I probably noticed this because I was in a foreign land with no internet connection!

Fast forward to today, the time spent by people on their phones have only increased

I went for a Twitter meet-up and after the initial introductions, we settled for a drink and automatically everyone took out their phones, stopped talking and started tweeting. I then knew, I truly was in a twitter meet-up

On an average, pre-covid, people spend around 3 hours per day on their phone. That is almost 20% of your day discounting your sleep time. Check out the below table and you can key in your own values to calculate how much % time you spend on your phone

Total No. of hrs in a day24
(-) Sleep Hrs8
(-) Daily routines Hrs2
(-) Office Commute Hrs (two way: door to door)2
% of time spent on phone per day25%
(-) Uninterrupted office work hours8
% of FREE time spent on phone per day75%
Activity table

Personally you may have variations however I would recommend you do your calculations and assess it yourself

Now without further ado, lets get on to some tips on how to reduce screen time during quarantine

1. Remove auto download feature on Whatsapp

As humans we have the urge to check every forwarded message, pic and movie clip; and if you are in multiple groups, you would spend a considerable time viewing them

Turning off the auto download will prevent you from having the urge to check each and every forwarded pic and movie. Personally I only download those forwards where I observe a lot of people commenting

2. Control social media scrolling

Have you wondered why you don’t realise how long you have spent on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Tictoc or other social media apps?

The answer is simple: there is no cue for your brain to stop scrolling

When you read a newspaper, you stop when you reach the last page. Similarly when you read a novel, you stop when you reach the end of the last chapter however when you are scrolling through any social media app, you continue scrolling because it is a bottom less pit and there is no cue to stop

One solution to control this is through Pomodoro technique. Simply put, you spend say 45 minutes of focussed time doing an activity post which you take a 10-15 minutes break. You could look at your phone during the break

Alternatively you can reserve specific times during the day, say post lunch, post evening tea and before dinner to catch up on social media

3. Enable lock screen notifications for only 1 app/type

Every time a notification pops up, we pick up the phone and we get lost into the mayhem. The best way to reduce screen time is let your phone be on your desk unattended

You can reduce your screen time by turning off all lock screen notifications and enabling it only for those apps which are critical for you. If this is too harsh, you can start by enabling notification for just one app per app type i.e. one Social media app, one Entertainment app, etc

Whatever notification that you missed in the lock screen would be visible once you unlock the phone during your scheduled “me time with phone”

4. Set screen time limit on phone

Since the last couple of years you can set daily screen limit on your phone specific to each app type

You can start with a 2 hour screen limit and monitor your usage. If you reach the screen limit, those app types gets locked, however you can over ride the limit, if needed

Doing this will give you a fair cue on how much time you are spending with your phone

5. Disable “Push” for your e-mails

e-mail with push notifications is sucker for your time. Disable push notifications from all your e-mail accounts in your phone

Instead manually check for new mails at specific times of the day. This will handle the urge for you to have to reply to every mail immediately

These are the five techniques on how to reduce screen time during quarantine. I have been using these techniques even from pre-covid times. Apart from this, my phone is mostly on silent mode & usually away from me. I can manage this because I get specific notifications such as calls on my smart watch

Since you are trying to alter behaviours, you could watch 5 tips to learn new things quickly or Shu Ha Ri, the three sequential Japanese martial art phases in learning

If you have any tips to control screen time then do comment. If you liked this article then please like and share