Before the pandemic, adults were in front of screens for over 11 hours a day. Covid-19, and resulting stay-at-home orders, helped screen time skyrocket.

As the time we spend at home stretches on, many are beginning to feel the negative side-effects of so much screen time, including obesity, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

If you’re struggling with any of these conditions, or if you just want to revamp your focus on wellness, it could be time for you to find ways to decrease your dependence on screens.

TaskHuman coaches are ready to help you, and they’ve outlined their best advice to start cutting back on screen time today.

1. Pause Some Notifications

The pings, bings, and beeps constantly reminding you to pick up your phone are one of the biggest culprits to increasing your screen time. Thinking about it…even when you’re not intending on looking at your phone, you often get sucked in every time you get notified of a new email or Facebook post. Then, before you know it, you’ve lost an hour of your day.

Simply by pausing certain persistent notifications, such as email notifications, you can cut the amount of time you’re spending distracted on a screen.

Listen as Coach Cheri Orndorf explains:

But not all of our screen time comes from our phones. We also work in front of screens.

2. Set a Timer

When we’re working, it’s easy to lose track of time and spend hours in the same position and place. But even working productively at the computer for long periods of uninterrupted time can have negative side-effects.

When you set a timer, you remind yourself to change positions, get up, move – or even better, take a break to really move your body and clear your mind.

Listen as Coach Lacey Pruett explains:

Choosing to go outside, if possible, for part of your breaks is important too. The Vitamin D and natural light trigger positive emotions and calm. Breathing deeply and centering yourself can help you regain focus and be more productive when you come back to work.

Coach Zachary Cooper explains:

Even with regular breaks and outside time, we can still clock in a lot of screen time hours. The best way around it – scheduling.

3. Schedule Your Use (and Non-use!)

With the boundaries between work and home blurred to the point of non-existence these days, we can feel like all of our awake time should be spent meeting the demands of work, which leads to a lot of artificial blue light and screen use.

Listen to Coach Kelly Hawk explain how she implemented a schedule:

By setting an actual work schedule, you push your brain to stay productive and waste less time. You also give yourself the ability to close out work for the day. Powering down and stepping away from your computer is good for your wellbeing and mental health.

Coach Tara Mazanec explains:

All of the tips so far are great, but if you spend most of your day in front of a screen, it can be difficult to get started on reducing that time.

4. Set Realistic Goals

Instead of deciding you’re going to cut your screen use in half, set a goal that is reasonable and manageable.

By setting a smaller (but still challenging) goal, you give yourself a better opportunity for early success. Success breeds commitment, which breeds more success.

Listen as Coach Nicole Farnsworth explains:

As you spend more time away from your screen, you may be tempted to use that time to be productive in other ways, like deep clean the stove or reorganize the hall closet. And while these activities are useful and good, not all of your new-found time should go to chores.

5. Do Something Fun

If you consistently use your “extra” time to clean, your decision to stay away from your screens may backfire because cleaning is not fun (for most people!).

Instead, use your time to do something else you enjoy: gardening, sports, or walking the dog. Whatever it is that fills you with joy, that’s what you should spend your leisure time doing.

Listen as Coach Andrea Caprio explains:

You can also use your time to develop your mental strength and personal insights. We spend much of our time consuming information, especially from screens. When we turn them off, it’s the perfect time to practice thinking about the ideas we’ve learned.

Listen to Coach Tiffany Albury explain:

The benefits of reducing screen time are many, but sometimes we need the extra push to remember why.

6. Life Is Happening

When we disconnect from our screens and become more present in our day, we realize that our life is happening whether we’re focused on it, and the people in it, or not.

Screens can be wonderful tools, but they can also be distractions that keep us from living our lives.

Listen to Coach Julia Pontones explain:

Finding the balance between being connected and disconnected allows us to use technology purposefully. It gives us boundaries and keeps us focused on the truly valuable things.

It’s important to remember that technology use is personal. What is fine for one person might be too much for another.

Listen to Coach Joy McGowan explain:

Technology has its place. It has made connecting with loved-ones during a pandemic possible. But like most things, you can have too much.

If you want more support and direct advice in reducing your dependency on technology and screens, or if you’re ready to tackle another area of your productivity, schedule a 1 -on- 1 video call with a live TaskHuman provider today.