As business owners who use social media to run their business, it can be difficult to avoid being on your phone. It can start to feel like if you neglect your phone, you are neglecting your business! We’re here to tell you that’s not true and there are some great ways that you can start using today to reduce your screen time as a small business owner!
In the last few months, Aaron and I have started paying closer attention to how we are spending our time. One of the main things that we have been focusing on is our screen time. Together, we made the commitment to reduce our screen time and we thought we’d share our tips and tricks to how we did it!
Before we jump into giving you all of our secrets, a good place to start is by checking your own screen time report! You can access your Screen Time reports in your Settings; they are usually under “Screen Time” or “Parental Controls.” If you have an iPhone, you can use this guide HERE to access your report. It’s a good idea to start here so you can use these tips and cater them more towards your personal usage!
Without a further ado, here are our TOP TEN TIPS TO REDUCE YOUR SCREEN TIME!
When you first check your Screen Time report, you may be tempted to throw your phone out the window just so you can never go on your phone again. It’s so easy to overlook just how much time we spend on our phones so when you put numbers to it, it can be really scary!
Well before we start doing anything like throwing out phones and removing every piece of technology in your house, take a deep breath! We use our phones everyday so it’s nearly impossible to just simply throw them away, especially as a business owner.
At the end of the day, what matters is that (1) you are aware of your usage and (2) you have steps in place to reduce your screen time. These kinds of things take time and the best way to make an impactful change is to slowly start making it a habit of yours that will stick.
Good news! Your phone doesn’t just dump this report on you and tell you, “Good luck!” In the Screen Time app, there are shortcuts to different actions that can automatically help you start reducing your time.
With the App Limits feature, you can set a limit on how much time you spend on a particular app. When you’ve spent a certain amount of time, in an app, your phone will notify you! Now, your phone doesn’t enter self-destruct mode and completely lock you out; you can set up a passcode that will allow you to bypass the screen limit if you choose to.
Trust me, we know how it is when you go on your phone for what feels like 5 minutes and look up at the clock to find you’ve been scrolling for 30 minutes. This is a really helpful tool that we have used for ourselves and our kids to limit how much time we are spending on games or social media.
Now with this tip, you’ve probably heard about it before! A few years back, a study came out to show that going on your phone right before bed could cause insomnia or difficulty falling asleep and it was a pretty big discovery. But it’s actually a great piece of advice to lower your screen time too!
Think about what you typically do right before you go to bed. Perhaps you brush your teeth, do your skin care routine, crawl into bed, and start aimlessly scrolling through TikTok. But how about instead of scrolling through TikTok, you used that time to write in your journal or meditate. This is a great time to cut out that screen time because for the most part, it is aimless scrolling!
One thing that we want to encourage as well is try avoiding your phone for that first 30 minutes after you wake up too! When you jump right on your phone, you are instantly “plugging in” to the digital world when maybe you haven’t even given yourself a moment to actually wake up. Take the first 30 minutes to an hour after you wake up to practice mindfulness, reflect on the day ahead of you, and slowly inch yourself to the point of “plugging in.”
As we mentioned before, your Screen Time report will tell you which apps you are spending the most time on. It’s not always an option but it might be worth considering completely deleting an app that takes up too much of your time.
For example, say your report tells you that you spend an hour and a half a day scrolling through TikTok. Upon further reflection, you think to yourself, “Every time I close out of TikTok, I get left with this icky feeling and just generally unhappy.” If an app is not readily providing a beneficial purpose to you, consider cutting it out completely if you can.
Remember, deleting an app doesn’t have to be permanent. Say you really love Pinterest but you are spending so much time on it and you are starting to feel bad about it. Consider detoxing from Pinterest for a week. Just one week where you delete the app and after that week is up, you can redownload it and see if you feel differently. Sometimes, all we need is a step away.
Another great feature that you can take advantage of from your Screen Time report screen is limiting the number of notifications you will receive. In today’s age where you can receive a notification on your watch, it can be hard to not get distracted by all those demands for your attention. When you adjust your notification settings, your phone will not notify you of notifications from different apps or only allow notifications at certain times.
One big way we have used this feature is with emails. Our emails are our main form of communication and it can be hard when we just finished going through to respond to emails and right when we finished, there’s a whole new string to respond to. Personally, we try to check and respond to emails 3 times a day (once in the morning, once in the middle of the day, and one at the end of the work day). Additionally, we have it set up in our email to only notify our phones to priority emails and only notify us during our business hours. That way, promotional emails or junk mail do not trigger a notification that can distract us from our work.
A simple way to reduce your screen time is by practicing being more present in social situations. We’re sure everyone can think of a social situation where you didn’t know anyone or were uncomfortable so you just resorted to aimlessly scrolling to pass the time.
Try putting your phone away during dedicated family time, dinners with friends, or other social situations. Is tonight family game night? Plug your phone in your bedroom and leave it there or a basket for the area and title it “No Phone Zone”. Are you out to dinner with friends? Consider turning your phone on Do Not Disturb mode or just leaving it in your purse. Sometimes all it takes is not having the accessibility to the technology to reduce our screen time. While out to dinner as a family or date night, we have a strict rule to not use any phones or to use the restaurant tablets some places have now. Coloring, playing tic-tac-to, or I-Spy helps keeps the kids engaged and we have fun doing it!
Depending on your situation, there are some industries that can “require” you to have a social media presence. We say “require” because it technically isn’t required but social media can be a powerful tool for your business! When social media becomes part of your job, it can be easy to write off part of your screen time as “working.”
Well there are actually quite a few resources that you can use to reduce your screen time when it comes to using social media for your business. Meta Business Suite is a great place where you can schedule stories and posts for your Facebook and Instagram. This can help reduce some of that stress of having to post outside of typical work hours. There are many great resources for other platforms as well such as Tailwind and Later.
Now, this tip has been something that we started using long before we started to reduce our screen time. Like we mentioned before, it can be difficult to turn off “work mode” because part of you feels responsible to show up for your business at all times. Outside of business hours, you should be taking on the other roles that are needed in your life, not responding to emails!
As we touched on in Tip #5, you can limit your notifications in your email to only receive notifications during set hours of the day. If you’re not quite comfortable with that, you can set more of an informal boundary and just avoid going on your email outside of business hours on your own. Or at an extreme level, you can delete the email app from your phone and only respond from your desktop.
There’s power in numbers! Consider enlisting your partner or a close friend to tag along with you on the journey to reduce your screen time. Keep each other accountable, monitor each other’s progress and be that helping hand on the hard days where you just want to bury yourself in your phone.
A quick word of advice: If one of you fails to to keep up with reducing your screen time, that doesn’t mean you have to stop trying. Do your best to get your partner back on the train but don’t let that stop you from continuing yourself!
I even went to the extreme and bought Aaron a Phone Jail!
Along the lines of failing, make sure you give yourself some grace! Reducing your screen time is NOT easy and it’s okay if you hit a few bumps in the road. What matters is that you pick yourself back up and focus on progress. Try not to get hung up on the bumps in the road!
So what are you waiting for? Get on out there and start to reduce your screen time! Both Aaron and I cannot stress enough how good it feels to spend less time on our phones. It’s so important to practice being present in your life and this is such a great way to start doing that!
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As always, stay beautiful! xoxo