How to effectively reduce mobile phone screen time

10 steps to effectively reduce smartphone screen time


Ah yes, the old “Pavlov’s Phone” we are so conditioned to respond to our phones!

A little buzzzzz, *ding* or riiiing – and our mind is alert, distracted from what it was we are *supposed* to be doing and wondering “……who/what that might be?!”

But, to be fair: it’s not entirely our own fault. Smart phones are designed in such a way that we become hooked to them.


I have been actively trying to spend less time on my phone of late, and have noticed some really positive affects. In conjunction with some great mindfulness based stress reduction strategies, I have felt a much greater sense of calm and clarity (pardon the pun!) with less screen time, and wanted to share some of these tips with you, in the hope it may help.


1.Measure how much time you’re spending


The first part of resolving a problem, is acknowledging that you have one in the first place….as they say!

We spend an incredible amount of time online on our smartphones. Actively tracking and measuring this can be really helpful – when you see how much time you are staring into your device – it makes those excuses of “I don’t have time to go to the gym” feel reeeeeeeally hard to swallow 😉

There are some very helpful ways to keep track of this:

  • iPhone screen time feature: https://www.apple.com/ca/newsroom/2018/06/ios-12-introduces-new-features-to-reduce-interruptions-and-manage-screen-time/
  • Facebook Time Tracker: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/08/manage-your-time/
  • Insta Time Tracker: https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/14/18095734/instagram-your-activity-dashboard-time-spent


2. Watch this Video


Sometimes a little bit of a creative reminder can be inspiration to take stock! Check out this video.


3. Go Monochrome


Our brain’s reward centre is stimulated by colour – and our phones have such a rich array of bright colours, enticing splashes and sparks to keep giving us dopamine hits, it is almost impossible to turn it away.

One helpful trick to reduce this (trust me, it makes your screen much less enticing) is to: turn it Black & White!

On an iPhone: General Settings -> Accessibility -> Colour filters -> Turn on to get options

On a Samsung: Settings -> Accessibility -> Vision -> Greyscale


4. Delete apps you don’t use


Go Marie Kondo on your mobile! That’s right, if you don’t use it (which means it proooobably doesn’t bring you joy…!) – get rid of it!

Regularly clear off unused apps and take a moment to consider if you *really* need it, when you start to download a new one


5. Turn off notifications


Switching off the trigger to get you hooked back on to your device. By turning off notifications (other than important ones like calls and SMS messages) – you will only check your inbox / messenger / social media when you need or think to.


6. Use Apps…..to keep you off Apps!


Some apps are worth keeping –  as well Try these Apps which help you to take breaks and check in on how much time you are spending on your little brain-sucker: Breakfree, StayOnTask, AppDetox


7. Use Flipd


You know that feeling, when you realise you’ve spent ages mindlessly scrolling, and suddenly put your phone down – determined not to look at it again for another hour.

Fast forward 15mins, and you’re back scrolling through instagram because you starting reading a text message reply and one thing led to another…..

HARNESS that first moment of clarity – when you have really decided you need to concentrate on another task at hand, with Flipd.

Flipd is a brilliant App which temporarily clears your phone screen of Apps (except for important ones for emergencies like text + call) for a predetermined amount of time. This allows you to make the most of that well-intentioned thought and reduce the possibility of distraction.


7. Consider your body


Aside from the affect phone use can have on our state of mind, they also have an appalling affect on our body, too – as I have talked about in this previous blog.


8. Put it away!


It sounds SO simple – but the “out of sight, out of mind” concept really works very well with phones! Why not go out without your phone sometimes, get adjusted to the distance.

Perhaps a 20min walk around the block, totally free of possible contact or intrusion. Bliss!


9*. And, if you really MUST look at your phone…..


Populate it with useful Apps which can help you to explore mindfulness and being present.

You may find, after reading an article or following a meditation, you may be less inclined to continue to scroll through other things.

Some of my tried-and-tested faves are:

10. Start NOW

if you’ve read this on your phone: Challenge yourself to put it away for 30 mins and go for a little stroll, play some music, read a book, or do a meditation – promise you’ll feel all the better for it 😉


– Sarah Watson

Managing Director

Clarity Wellness Centre

* gave you a little cheeky way out there, didn’t I!?



Clarity Admin

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