8 April 2020

Our phones are really hard to ignore. With their push notification and feeds we can refresh endlessly there’s always something new waiting for us.

They are designed to catch our attention and keep us hooked. But how can we make sure that our phones don’t steal our time? Managing your screen time takes a lot of willpower so we’ve put together five top tips to help you #controlthescroll.


Number 1: Monitor your time online

First of all, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Are you on your phone all day long or is it just your evenings that get eaten into by screen time? Which apps are the biggest time stealers for you? Most phones have built-in screen time monitoring now but apps such as MomentRescueTime and Space can help you get a better picture of how you spend time on your phone.

Number 2: Be selective about your notifications

Our rule of thumb is ‘disable all notifications that are not from people’. Push notifications from apps draw us into spending time on things that aren’t important enough for us to remember without a prompt and make the temptation to pick up your phone super hard to resist.

Number 3: Have screen free zones          

We take our phones everywhere with us. The obvious choice for a phone free zone is your bed but even having a simple rule such as no phones at dinner/in the bathroom/whilst watching a film can help. Making a deliberate choice to do something in an uninterrupted way is what’s important here.

Number 4: Go greyscale

Take a look at your home screen – you see all those brightly coloured apps and red notifications? Your phone is populated with eye-catching colours because our brains are automatically drawn to them. Red in particular is hard to ignore (which is why it is used on the SALE or discount labels you see in shops.) Try going greyscale to make your home screen look a bit less juicy.

Number 5: Use apps to help

You can block access to time-sucking apps at certain times of the day with Freedom and Offtime, or schedule your social media posts with HootSuite so that your followers don’t dwindle.

And for extra motivation, follow @screenlifebalance or download one of their free lock-screen backgrounds that say things like, “What do you want to pay attention to?” to remind you to #controlthescroll.