5 Ways To Incorporate Less Screen Time In Your Day

Lately, I’ve been really thinking about my REAL life goals.

I say “real” because it the past few months, I’ve really tried to focus on not wanting after earthly things – i.e. Instagram followers, abs, Starbucks gold member status, etc. I started to think, “what do I really want in life?”

In short, I want to be happy. I want to be so incredibly in love with my life that my cheeks are so red with blushing joy that I don’t ever have to apply cheek color.

If you asked me what things I really want I would probably give you my silly, but true answer. I want a house with a bit of land so I can have chickens. I want to use the fresh eggs to make breakfast in the morning. I want to really learn French. I want to travel without being so anxious. I want to get really good at cooking – soups, stews, roasts, etc. I’d like to have a house filled with only things I absolutely love.

When I thought about it, I realized that some of the material things I own at the moment are just placeholders. I have cute clothes, so I can look presentable for work, but someday I think a capsule wardrobe that can fit in a backpack across Europe would be cool. I have a record player I adore, but I think I’d trade it in in exchange to hear Gavin James play at Whelans IRL. I really don’t know what I’d do without my laptop at the moment, but if I somehow was able to keep track of all my work without it, I’d paint a giant canvas of wildflowers and put that in it’s place on my desk.

You know what I mean?

Anyway, one thing I’m pretty tied to is my phone. I’m a blogger and I fit into this social media generation. I pay my bills on my phone, I Facetime my sister in Florida, I schedule my workouts, I order my coffee, yada, yada, yada. All on my phone.

In between daydreaming about making banana pancakes in my cottage craftsman while my King Charles cavalier spaniel plays around my feet, I’ve also thought about ditching my phone, getting a flip phone, and only using it for imperative calls and texts. I could get an alarm clock, right? And maybe an old-fashioned iPod nano to listen to music on my runs? And then I have a very nice DSLR that I am eternally grateful for that I could use to take any photos I needed to, even if it is a little clunky.

But alas, I think this would create more problems. Right now, my work for my internship heavily relies on me having a smart phone, I’ve been enjoying blogging and find the time I spend on social media to be beneficial and fulfilling, and I would be sad if I couldn’t Facetime my sister or friends that live out of the city. So this got me to thinking…can I just rely on my phone a little less?

I’ve started implementing the tips below as well as only checking social media a couple times a day! I’ve been feeling loads more inspired and present. I’ve even had time to read some great books and enjoy quality time with family!

what to read each day

Unsubscribe from e-mails

You know when you open your inbox and 235 e-mails, 47 promotions, and an Oklahoma tornado hit you in the face? No? Oh. Well…ya know…sometimes ya just got a lot of JUNK in your inbox. I like to use Unroll.me (#notsponsored – it’s just awesome!) to unsubscribe from those lists I randomly have gotten subscribed to. (Or those ones that I subscribed to just to get the new customer discount…mwahahaha.) Do this, and you won’t have to spend so much time on your phone cuz you’ll only have a few, pertinent e-mails to sort through.

Unfollow people that don’t help you grow/promote positive messages

It’s going to look different for everyone, but you’ll know which accounts these are. Maybe it’s the Compulsive Complainer who only tweets things like “ugh it’s only Tuesday” and “seriously just need someone to do my bio homework for me” but never really posts anything that makes ya feel good? Maybe it’s the “EAT CLEAN, ONLY GREENS, VEGGIES HAVE HEALING POWER, GLUTEN IS THE DEVIL” lady screaming at ya from behind her iPhone. Just unfollow. No hate, no hard feelings.

Try this:

Day 1 – Facebook

Day 2 – Instagram

Day 3 – Twitter and Snapchat

It can actually take a decent amount of time to cleanse these platforms, so if you’re a busy bee like myself, just go through a couple each day.

Turn off push notifications

You don’t need that kinda negativity in your life. 👏🏻 But seriously, how many times do you find yourself on your phone for 20 minutes, mindlessly scrolling just because you happened to get a Facebook notification of your boyfriend tagging you in a picture of a puppy up for adoption. (Again…just me? Haha. Love ya Cam! And love puppies.)

I do want to see these things, but I want to see them on my time. Like when I take a break from studying and want to see what my friends are doing on Snapchat. Or when I want to hop over to Facebook to read a cool article that was shared. The puppy pics will still be there!

what to read each day

Check out a book from the library instead of starting a new Netflix show

I know we can sometimes feel like we don’t have a left arm if we aren’t currently in a committed relationship with some type of Netflix or Hulu flick, but maybe that break can be beneficial for us. Think of how many times in the past few weeks you’ve wished you could pick up a good book. (And don’t you dare lie to me! I have seen your comments and tweets telling me you genuinely want to read more…now is your chance, sis!)

So check out a book or download an audiobook. This is an activity you can do in your down time that will keep you away from the screens.

Make “walking” playlists

So something I found to be true for myself was that I was always on my phone when walking around campus. Have to walk the mile from my car to the gym? Oh no problem, I’ll just scroll through Instagram and Twitter! It wasn’t so bad…except for those times I almost ran into a pole. But ya know, I could use that time to give my phone and eyes a rest. (It really drains my battery…my phone battery and my soul battery if that’s a thing haha!)

So I created some playlists on Spotify of music I could just walk to. I could look around at my surroundings, slip my phone in my pocket, and just be walking. Highly recommend!

Place your phone on airplane mode an hour before bed

I mentioned this in my morning quiet time routine, but I do this so that I don’t get flooded with a ton of notifications and end up sitting on my phone forever. (And I’m just less tempted to be on my phone.) I find that this time of night, people are really active on social media…especially because most of my friends and my sister away at college in Florida (hey, Cheek!) are total night owls. I am not. I want my sleep! So I’ll just check up on what they did last night when I get a break in my day the next day, but not when I am trying to wind down.


In the past couple days since writing this post, I’ve incorporated even more tactics:

I deleted the Twitter app off my phone, so that I’m only “allowed” to check Twitter when I am on my desktop. I maybe check twice a day (once on a lunch break at work and once before beginning studying when I get home.) I can see the funny tweets Cam and my BFF Hannah send me, but I don’t spend too much time scrolling through other’s tweets. Heck, I work in news, so I will already know if something newsworthy is going on! And let’s face it, @jennyfromtheblock123 telling us that she saw a cute barista at Starbucks while getting her PSL isn’t pertinent information!

I have stopped watching Instastories for the most part. Those little things were the BANE of my existence! I am naturally curious. Give me a morning routine or day-in-my-life Youtube video and I am your slave for all 7 minutes of the video roll plus the pre-roll ads. Every time. But I would spend like an hour on my phone at then end of the day watching all the stories. I ended up muting stories I wasn’t keen on seeing – like stores I follow showing me their latest arrivals…it’s ok – I already got an e-mail most likely!

Sometimes I’ll watch just the ones I choose to see – which when it boils down to it, is only a handful…so I spend much less time doing that!

Do you have any tips for staying off your phone/screens? How have these practices benefitted you?