Woman on sofa with phone

Spring Cleaning Our Hearts & Minds

The average American spends over four hours a day on their smartphone. That’s a quarter of our waking hours. Read on to learn easy steps to reduce your average screen time with the goal of improving your productivity, relationships, and mental clarity.

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Addressing Our Phone Fixation

Woman on sofa with phone

As we move into this new season, our theme for April is Spring Cleaning—cleaning our hearts and minds of that which does not serve us well. We are asking ourselves, what small changes can we make to reduce the distractions, clutter, negative thought, bad habits, etc. that are affecting our ability to be our best selves? There are an endless number of “self-improvement” topics that we could focus on; but for this month’s blog we are going to explore one thing that, if we are being honest with ourselves, most of us are guilty of: a fixation with our phones.

“I feel overwhelmed.”
“I feel like I am not good enough.”
“I feel busy, but not productive.”
“I feel distracted.”
“I feel addicted.”

Raise your hand if any of these statements sound familiar. How often do these feelings relate back, in one way or another, to that shiny little computer that you carry in your pocket? Probably more often than you even realize.

The average American spends over four hours a day on their smart phone (a 30% increase from pre-pandemic days). That means we are spending a quarter of our waking hours staring at that little screen, totaling nearly two full months a year (yikes!). Over half of all Americans report feeling addicted to their phones and 70% check their phones within 10 minutes of waking in the morning. It’s also worth noting that seven out of every 10 minutes on a mobile device is spent on social media or a photo/video app.

Not all of the time spent on your phone is hurting you, of course. Using your phone to communicate is a necessary part of life and work. Phones keep us connected and informed (chances are, you are reading this blog from your phone right now). They can improve our efficiency, and they provide a lot of conveniences (hello ordering dinner from the palm of my hand). But when overused, smartphones can have a negative effect on our productivity, as well as our emotional well-being. Notification beeps hinder our focus, and comparisons on social media can trigger feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. All of that scrolling clutters our minds, affecting our sleep, our relationships, and our health.

So, now that we’ve admitted that we have a problem on our hands (literally), what do we do about it? Well, the good news is our phone use is a habit. And in the same way that habits can be formed, they can also be broken.



Steps to Reduce Your Average Screen Time

Below are eight easy tips for reducing your average screen time to improve your work, productivity, relationships and mental clarity.

  1.  Track your screen time. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools out there to monitor screen time and even block distracting websites. For example, the “Screen Time” feature on the iPhone provides you with daily and weekly reports of your device use, including: time spent on certain apps, how often you pick up your phone, and what apps send you the most notifications. Speaking of which…

  2.  Turn off notifications. According to one study, when even just momentarily distracted, it can take up to 23 minutes to refocus on a task. Most of the things competing for our attention can wait. Don’t let that buzz kill your focus and flow.

  3.  Do a phone cleanse. Delete apps that you do not truly benefit from and maintain a minimalist home screen. Remove social media apps from your home screen. You can still access them from your App Library, but the extra clicks to get there serve as a deterrent to mindless scrolling.

  4.  Set your screen to monochrome. It is shocking how much colors keep us glued in. An all black and white Instagram feed isn’t nearly as visually stimulating. Turning on your phone’s grayscale mode during the workday can help you stay focused.

  5.  Schedule time for social media. With specific time set aside in your day, you won’t feel guilty for “wasting time” because you’ve already planned for it. Limiting the use of social to say 30 minutes a day can reduce FOMO and, in turn, relieve the loneliness, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems associated with excessive use. And remember, you are not obligated to consume all social media content. If something or someone is not serving you, rather than unfollowing, just “mute” them. They will never know—no hard feelings.

  6.  Find a designated spot in your home for phone use. Rather than carry your phone from room to room, put it in a designated spot that requires a conscious effort to visit. Don’t bring it to the table for meals and don’t fall into the trap of “I need it for an alarm clock.” Good ol’ fashion alarm clocks still exist, and they are much less interesting to stare at before bed. And while we are on the topic of sleep…

  7.  No phones before bed or first thing in the morning. Screens disrupt your melatonin production, which in turn affects the quality of your sleep. Poor sleep quality will be evident in your mood, performance, and productivity. An hour before bedtime, put your phone away. In the morning, don’t let other people’s lives be the first thing you see. Develop a routine focused on YOU.

  8.  Allot times for no devices. Spend an hour or two each day where you don’t check your phone or any other device. You won’t miss much in an hour, but your mind will feel less cluttered.



Final Thoughts…

Screens aren’t a bad thing. The key is to not let them get the best of us. 

What if for the month of April we reduced our daily phone time by just 20 minutes? That adds up to 10 hours over the month.

How could we spend that time differently? Outdoors. Focused on friends & family (the actual person, not the Instagram version). Moving our bodies (we are a little biased toward this option). Or just slowing down and focusing on what’s directly in front of us.

Perhaps it’s time to do a little spring cleaning and find out.

Have you successfully implemented strategies to manage your screen time? How has it impacted your mind and body? Please share your tips & tricks with the rest of us by leaving a comment below!



App Annie’s State of Mobile 2022 Report.
Reviews.org Proprietary Survey Conducted December 2021.
Elitecontentmarketer.com. “Screen Time Statistics 2021: Your Smartphone is Hurting You.”


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  1. Lauren H says:

    Using a sunrise lamp has helped reduce my phone use in the morning, as that was what I was using to help wake me up before!