14 Screen Time Management Tips For Students Addicted To Their Phones
Screen time is becoming an increasingly difficult problem for students and professionals alike. The phones and tablets of today carry with them so many informational and entertainment options and such attractive builds, designs, and resolutions that it’s easy to get hooked.
But when you have a full-time class load, professional certification exams, and the daily demands of life to worry about, overuse can become a very real problem. To help you not fall into the trap of too much screen time, here are some management tips to stay on the right path.
1. Define your problem.
Some of the screen time management tips you are about to read will require more self control than others. Consider this a beginner tip.
Different people have different thresholds for what can be considered problematic. Some people can drink three to four alcoholic beverages and still be in control of their faculties. Others become dangers to themselves and others.
Utilization of screen time is no different. It can be an addictive behavior like anything else. So before you move further in this article, pause for a moment and answer this question: how much screen time would be too much for me in my situation?
2. Log the amount of time you spend on your devices.
Once you know the specific amount of screen time that is problematic, it’s time to take inventory. How much time do you spend per day pulling out your phone or parking in front of the television and sifting through social media updates?
You do not have to arrive at an accurate number right off the bat. The simple act of being more mindful of it will help you notice whenever you’re aimlessly scrolling.
The longer you resolve to log your screen time, the more accurate the number will be; and hopefully, you will be more likely to notice excesses and do something about them.
3. Force yourself to spend equal screen time with active time.
If you know how much screen time is consuming your day, then you can take more advanced proactive steps to fight back. One good rule of thumb as far as that goes — perform as much activity as you can to equal the amount of screen time.
If you are on your phone an hour per day, take a one-hour walk. If three hours, a three-hour walk. It is a form of holding yourself accountable for screen time. Once you resolve to do so, a switch will be flipped in your head and you will adjust accordingly.
4. Schedule your time.
The act of scheduling screen time will lead to an important shift in mindset. By marking off blocks of time for playing or working on your device, you will achieve greater mindfulness and the activity will become more purposeful and less instinctual.
Instinctual use of screen time is what compounds and leads to addiction (or at least a whole bunch of wasted time). Be mindful, and you will be in more control.
5. Keep your most addictive devices in a separate room, especially when you’re studying.
For most people, this would be the phone, though eReaders and tablets can be equally guilty. Just make sure that when it comes time to study, you physically take the guilty device into another room.
You will be much less likely to randomly check your text messages and notifications during downtime if you have to physically get up and walk into another room to do so. As a result, you are likely to work for longer amounts of time at a more productive rate.
6. Never bring screen time into your conversations.
A youth minister I know once got up in front of his congregation and tried to explain to the older folks in the audience that they needed to cut young people more slack when it came to phone behaviors.
“You don’t understand. While you think they are being rude and not listening when they’re sitting there looking at their phones while you’re talking to them, they really are listening. They’re not meaning to be rude. It’s just how their minds work,” he said.
While we do live in a faster-paced culture, there is never a good excuse to justify poor communication skills. And listening to another person while showing them respect is as much a part of the communication process as speaking. Maybe more so!
Human beings often engage in such behaviors while telling themselves the lie that they are multitasking. Here’s a sad but true fact for you. Human beings are actually terrible at multitasking. Numerous studies have shown this.
By training yourself to put away the phone and focus on the other party or parties in a conversation, you will be able to get a better handle on your screen time problem. Besides, it will make you more attractive to employers if you know how to listen and to give off the appearance that you know how.
7. Don’t use screen time as a reward.
Screen time should not be a reward or a punishment, really. Any time that you make it one or the other, you are allowing it to play too important of a role in your interactions with other people and your system of productivity.
The number one thing to remember is that the device should have a purpose. You should only use it if you need to know something or you want to watch or read something (to be entertained, informed, or both).
Just having it there to check when you’re bored leads to instinct leads to addiction. Don’t let yourself fall into that trap.
8. Get involved in more extracurricular activities.
Boredom is probably the biggest driver of harmful screen time for students and professionals alike. The old saying that idle hands are the devil’s playground — right on the money!
Spending so much time on your phone out of boredom means you aren’t filling your life with enough constructiveness. Look for clubs or sports or other programs that you can get involved with before, during, and/or after school.
Fill your time with an interesting life, and you won’t have time to get bored.
9. Schedule days free from screen time.
It may not be practical at first to schedule screen time-free days every week. Perhaps start with once per month; then once every three weeks; then every two. You’ll get there eventually.
By incorporating more days free from your devices, you will be able to fill in gaps with your studies and lead an overall more meaningful life.
10. Keep your device in a drawer.
You have a big test to study for, and you are not particularly drawn to the material. Every morsel of knowledge and information is an uphill battle. If only you could stop and check Facebook to juice your creativity enough for that next chapter-read…
No. Don’t do it. When you know that you have to conduct some heavy duty study time, find a desk drawer, open that bad boy up, and drop the phone inside. The simple act of getting the phone off your person and forcing an extra bit of effort to reconnect with it will do more to reduce screen time than anything else.
11. Read more.
Reading is knowledge, and no, you don’t have to be reading a textbook for that to be true. Whether it’s a dense nonfiction book or light reading, the act of reading will serve as a significant and constructive distraction from screen time.
One great way to encourage more reading and less screen time that may seem counterproductive — start a Goodreads account and give yourself permission to use your device to update progress after you reach significant reading milestones.
While it will push you back onto your device, it will also sort of game-ify your reading to the extent that you will want to spend more time reading than mindlessly scrolling.
12. Resolve to add in one new-to-you activity per month until something sticks.
A lot of times overuse of screen time is because you don’ have enough going on in your day-to-day life. A hobby can help, but you don’t want it to be something you start just to start. You want to connect the hobby to something you are generally interested in.
You also want to make sure that the hobby does not rely too heavily on the device itself. Think actively. How can you get your body and your mind involved in a way that does not depend on technology?
Keep trying until you feel naturally drawn to something.
13. Form your own accountability group.
Got friends with the same problems? Talk about it. Incorporate screen time accountability into your study group. Discuss your habits, good and bad, and share tips and tactics that work for you while listening to what works for them and finding ways to incorporate into your own life.
14. Talk about what you actually use it for.
Consider this an “advanced” level screen time management tip. What you are likely to find when you start tracking phone/device use more closely is that a lot of what you use these items for is pretty useless.
Once you are able to separate productivity from waste, it is easier to maximize what you use your devices for.
So is overuse of screen time a problem for you in your studies? Which of these tips did you find to be the most helpful, and what are some tips that have worked for you that you would not mind sharing? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Edutopia]