Let me tell you a story…
For hours and hours I sat in my bedroom watching youtubers, scrolling through pinterest, looking at the lives of instagrammers and bloggers (comparing myself with them), and wasting my time reading about silly things including whatever was latest viral trend.
I would spend half of the night (when I was supposed to be sleeping) on my phone staring at the screen. I would feel angry and frustrated whenever I was not ‘connected’ to people via the internet. I just wanted to spend all of my time on the internet because what if I missed something important? I knew how bad this was for me but I kept doing it because I was literally addicted.
Not getting enough sleep made getting out of bed in the morning feel almost impossible. I would be up at midnight crying because I felt like I was wasting my life away (and I kind of was) but, what I would be doing at the same time the next night? Yep. I was on my phone. I am not even kidding.
I thought that being on the internet meant that I wasn’t missing stuff (I mean, I was online for nearly all of the monumental twitter trends).
In reality I actually was missing a lot of things. Spending time with family, helping cook dinner, going out with friends, being creative and doing art, sleeping and heaps more. But I wasn’t satisfied until I got my next dose of screens. It was like reality had become less real and the internet had become my reality.
I want this year to be a different story.
So I have decided to work on a few ways/techniques to gain better self control when it comes to screens. Just so you know, this is a work in progress. I don’t have all the answers. I am choosing to learn and grow while chatting to you guys about what helps me.
Make your bed a sleep only space.
Like I said, I used to spend hours laying in bed on my phone which was absolutely terrible! I recently got a really nice couch in my bedroom, which is perfect because I can limit my phone to the couch when in my bedroom and make my bed a no go zone till I am sleeping. I have successfully done this for almost a week now and it has been working great for me. Another option is to plug your phone in at night in another room. This way you are not seeing all of the notifications and getting tempted late at night to check them.
Limit the things you have to scroll through.
Something that has helped me get less sucked into spending hours online is unfollowing and unsubscribing to all of the random things I am needlessly following. Go through all of the people you are following on social media and unfollow all of the accounts that a) you don’t remember seeing in your feed or following in the first pace, b) anyone who uselessly spams your feed and c) any other accounts you can bear to stop following.
Maybe you are following a blogger on every social media and getting the same updates on every account? How about limiting the amount of times you are seeing that by only following them on one account. You can still get the update, just not a million times.
Another thing that really helped me was to unsubscribe to everyone I was subscribed to on YouTube so I don’t feel like I have to watch a heap of videos whenever I open YouTube, but I still can search for a YouTuber if I need/want to.
Find more productive ways to use your time.
A tip I was recently given was whenever you remember to get off screens or can’t think of anything to do other than screens was to write a list of anything and everything you want to accomplish in life big or small. Then, instead of going on your phone to stop being bored, work toward one of the things on your list. You will feel like you are being more productive with your time and you won’t be on screens. Often just starting something will give you the momentum to keep going on with other things instead of going straight back to your devices.
Understand That It Is Going To Take Time
This kind of problem is not going to be fixed in a heartbeat. It is going to take time, and the sooner you understand this the less disappointed you will be. Spending a lot of time on screens is simply a habit. Habits take time and hard work to change. I was recently given a metaphor that pretty much well sums up this. You created a grand canyon (your habit) by digging a hole shovel by shovel. To get the grand canyon to go away you need to fill it back up, shovel by shovel. What you put in is what you get out. Make sense?
Ask for help from your parents.
I know this may sound kinda strange, but most of the time our parents are there to help us grow and become better human beings. I am sure that they would love to work with you to reinforce the boundaries you set up for the amount of time you spend on screens. Maybe ask to sit down and have a conversation about it with them and come up with a plan of attack on decreasing the amount of time spent on your devices.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful and if you know any other ideas that help you out, leave a comment below and I would love to hear from ya! Best of luck!