How can you reduce the intrusiveness of screens in your lives?

Screens have become even more pervasive as well as intrusive in our lives. They initially made the jump from theaters to our living rooms and offices followed by a swift transition into the privacy of our bedrooms. Since professional work, housekeeping, and entertainment moved online, we remain glued to screens for both essential and frivolous reasons seemingly incapable of ignoring these technological interruptions.

The consequence of “our love for screens” is turning out to be very unhealthy. The intrusiveness of screens has dismantled our natural context/cues and reward perceptions leading to the breaking of habits and change in behavior. It has resulted in limited physical activity, social interactions, and connection with nature. Of course, we cannot banish them, the question is – how do we limit our exposure to them?

The answer is to take charge and control the context/cues that enable or encourage your screen use to revel in shallow rewards.

Couple looking at food in kitchen
  • Keep screens in a designated area away from you – in a drawer, zipped pocket, or another room.
  • Leave them behind while you do your chores like eating, exercising, cooking, or spending time with family rather than roaming around with them.
  • Measure the time you spend while engaged with screens. Is it healthy?
  • Silence the notifications and unsubscribe from automated suggestions for content.
  • Set a timer each for social media, web browsing, or consuming digital entertainment.
  • Limit online shopping to a single day of the week.
  • Buy a limited data pack for your hand-held devices.
  • Invest in a wristwatch to see the time.
  • Put a cost to every time you exceed the timer and reward yourself for sticking to it.

Of course, it will not be easy. But by imposing friction, repetition, and being consistent you will get there!

Take control of your screen time