How to Decrease Your Screen Time & Be Happier

How to Decrease Your Screen Time & Be Happier

When the pandemic began, my screentime exploded. Prior to March 2020, I’d kept my screentime under 2 hours a day, but suddenly I was spending 4 hours a day on my phone, reading the news and doomscrolling through Facebook.

However, I’ve realized that this isn’t just healthy for me, physically or mentally. 2020 is a trash year, so the constant stream of news just made me anxious and angry. And since I was spending more time looking at my phone, I was spending less time on other activities. 

A few weeks ago, I decided enough was enough and started decreasing my screen time. I’m already seeing improvements in both my physical and mental health!

Let’s talk about why you should lower your screen time on your phone and how to get it done. It’s time to decrease screen time!

How to Decrease Your Screen Time & Be Happier

decrease screen time

Benefits of Decreased Screen Time

We know that less screen time is just plain better for us. We sleep better, get fewer headaches, focus more, and get more exercise. Research has found that children who have lower screen time weigh less and do better in school. Staying away from or limiting social media can also lower anxiety and depression.

Clean Up Your Phone

Open the Screentime app on your phone and do some analysis. How much time are you spending per day? Which apps are sucking your time? Facebook, TikTok, games? Are there certain times of day that you spend a lot of time on your phone?

Using the screentime app or another app, set your daily goal and app limits. If you know you don’t have a lot of control with a certain app, delete it. If you just can’t bear to erase Candy Crush, set a daily time limit. Some apps will cut off your access at that point.


Turn off as many notifications that you can. Whether your phone beeps, vibrates, or lights up, that notification just pulled your attention away from whatever you were doing and encouraged you to interact with your phone.

Do you need to know every comment and like you receive? Not really. I turned off notifications except for email and text messages. Don’t forget to turn off notifications on associated electronics, such as tablets, smartwatches, or computers.

Plan Alternate Activities

When I told one of my students what I was doing, he asked me, “What are you doing instead? Staring at the wall?” We have gotten so used to looking at our phones when we’re bored, that we’ve forgotten we can do other things.

I have some activities ready to go to fill those moments when I want to reach for my phone. I have books and magazines on hand to read. I’m knitting and exercising a lot more. (Though not at the same time.)

Go outside and take a walk. Talk to the people in the room with you. Crazy, I know. Or just let your mind wander. You might be surprised what you end up thinking about.

Celebrate Progress

I was able to drop my screen time much faster than I expected. In the first week, I got back under 2 hours pr day. My current goal is less than 90 minutes a day. That is more of a challenge, but I enjoy working toward a new goal. 

What rewards help motivate you? I’m food motivated, so a food reward keeps me working. Plan a small reward for yourself at the end of each week when you decrease your screentime.

Even though I’m spending less time on my phone, I still know what is happening in the world around me and on Facebook. But getting away from doomscrolling has made me a lot happier.

Living through a global pandemic is hard enough – I don’t need my smartphone to make my life any more difficult.

How do you plan to decrease screen time? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: How Parents Can Manage Teen Cell Phone Use, 4 Ways Your Phone Can Improve Your Time Management

1 thought on “How to Decrease Your Screen Time & Be Happier”

  • Thank you so much. I was in this phone war too. I found out i’m using my phone a lot but i didn’t know what to do to reduce it. Your blog post really helped me. Its really tough this year with online classes and phone addiction.

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