As increasing numbers of people work from home or use technology for their daily tasks, so too has the amount of time being spent in front of a screen increased. Whilst efficient and useful, too much time at a screen can lead to digital fatigue, increase headaches and eye strain, affect your sleep, and impact negatively on your overall health. Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to reduce your screen time today.
Many people tend to try to multitask and in doing so, actually, end up spending much more time in front of a screen than they would need to otherwise. Aim to only open up one application at a time and try to focus your time on each individual set task.
Ensuring that you’ve logged out of other apps completely is also important as it will deter you from the temptation to quickly check something else. Similarly, consider installing an app blocker when working to reduce your chances of getting distracted.
Video calls are a fantastic way to communicate with other people and promote positive interactions. However, they are also energy-consuming and tiring. Instead of defaulting to video calls, consider if there is another means of communication that would be more suitable or just as efficient. If you can effectively communicate via email or a phone call conversation, use that option instead.
Too often, technology devices simply become a default that you can turn to without really thinking about why you’re using them.
“How often have you logged on to your computer thinking that you’ll quickly check something online, only to realize you’ve spent an hour on the computer with little to show for it?” says Kenneth Johnson, a business writer at Writinity and Researchpapersuk. “Be clear with yourself about what it is you hope to accomplish before you log on to the computer or any other digital device. Have a clear purpose and stick to it. The clearer your goals and intentions, the more likely you are to stick to them.”
Whenever you can, choose the low-tech route and use pen and paper. Whenever you need to create a list, brainstorm ideas, sketch out an initial draft, or just write down your thoughts, default to a physical implementation instead of a digital one. Not only will this help to reduce the amount of time you spend in front of a screen, but the very act of writing using a different implement can offer you a much-needed break.
Similarly, whilst there are plenty of apps and devices which enable you to read books and magazines online, consider actually picking up a physical book or magazine instead. This will reduce your amount of screen time and exposure to blue light, which can negatively impact your sleep patterns.
Or get blue light protection if low-tech doesn’t appeal to you. Fret not! Blue light is not a myth. Even science agrees. You can also replace your regular old bulbs with anti-blue light LED bulbs because you know, reading a physical book still requires light at night.
It’s important that you schedule breaks throughout your day where you can get away from technology. These breaks don’t need to be long. Simply taking 5 to 10 minutes away from technology a few times throughout the day can be enough to provide you with some essential perspective.
“Try to schedule regular tech-free breaks throughout your day. If you’re eating lunch, choose to read a physical book over scrolling on your phone. If you’re pausing for a coffee break, avoid taking out your phone and instead indulge in a few minutes of calm and quiet or mindful breathing. The temporary break from technology will give your brain an important break and enable you to return to your tasks with renewed purpose and energy,” says Kary Lopez, a journalist at Draftbeyond and LastMinuteWriting.
Using these small, actionable steps, you too can reduce your screen time, lower your digital fatigue, and improve your overall well being.
A related article talks about iPhone's blue light filter.
Block the excessive blue light with Swannies Blue Light Blocking Glasses.