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3 Habits That Will Reduce Your Screen Time Drastically

Do this for your future successful self

There are endless distractions everywhere around us.

A few years ago, I was so used to the digital dopamine from the phone that I couldn’t put it away for any length of time.

I didn’t manage to be productive at all and my personal life was a mess.

When you don’t get notifications, you actually feel so low because you have been wired to expect them. So, you keep checking the phone on autopilot looking for the next dopamine spike.

I stopped watching TV series

Netflix series are meant to be addictive.

It is so common in many friend circles to watch the latest series on Netflix or HBO and talk about it with friends.

Before streaming services, you could only watch one episode per week and you had to wait for the next one to air.

Now, everything is on demand.

There was no way you could bingewatch a series for 5 hours every evening, 15 or 20 years ago. Today that is the reality for a lot of people.

Series are too addictive so I gave them up a few years ago. The only series I have seen in the last years is Better Call Saul.

Sometimes someone asks me if I have seen “insert the latest popular series” and I have probably never even heard about it.

Some people maybe think I am weird for that, but that is a price I am willing to pay for protecting my attention and time.

Remove notifications

The idea that we need notifications is one of the worst misconceptions ever.

Choose to be proactive rather than reactive. Check things at your own time rather than letting someone else impose their agenda on you.

Notifications are essentially Silicon Valley imposing their agenda on you trying to keep your eyeballs on their platforms to make more money. It is not about making your life more convinient.

Do you really need to be interrrupted to know that someone sent you an email at 21.47 a Friday night? Or that an aquintance liked one of your Instagram photos at 06.30 on a Tuesday morning?

Unless you remove most notifications, you will spend your entire day reacting to a frantic blur of emails, messages, phone calls, Slack, Whatsapp and whatever else it is.

Be really conscious about your screen time

We spend way too much time in front of screens.

A lot of people are kind of living in a digital matrix.

Too much screen time fuels loneliness and it affects your energy and neurotransmitters negatively. The dopamine system is constantly activated and desensitized by the constant easy pleasure and notifications we get.

Notifications also take us out of the present moment.

It is much better to be efficient and log off as soon as possible. That way you will have more energy for other things and be recharged when you have to get back to work the next day.

I decided to buy an Alcatel phone a few years ago with messages and phone calls only.

For periods, I only brought this one with me to university and work. And at every night at 10 pm, I turned off the internet.

So, I started doing a lot of other things now that every moment of my waking life was not spent looking at Instagram or YouTube.

Things such as:

  • Reading

  • Enjoying the small moments in between stuff happens

  • Mindfully doing things since I felt more at peace

And it led to:

  • Reading 50 books in a year

  • Writing

  • Feeling better about myself and less stress in my daily life

  • Higher energy levels and less brain fog

  • Better concentration ability

  • Even becoming more social (in the loneliness of disconnecting from social media and cheap entertainment online, I felt like being social for the first time in ages. And I met new people and reconnected with friends).

It basically turned my life around completely. Not only did I get a lot more time on my hands but my energy levels rose a lot as well and with more presence I could finally commit to projects in a real way for the first time in my life.

I began to know myself better instead of always chasing digital dopamine hits.

It was a beautiful place to be in. And it felt amazing to be in control of my own time and energy. I felt compelled to learn more and do new things.

I read a few books that reaffirmed my decision.

Books such as Deep Work, Digital Minimalism, Stolen Focus, Indistractable and The Shallows.

I learned that we are not meant to multitask and get distracted constantly. It leads to dimished mental health and reduced cognition.

I started applying these concepts:

  • Deep work: Focusing on something cognitively demanding without distractions. I practice deep work for a few hours every day.

  • Digital minimalism: Focusing your online time on a small number of carefully selected activities that support things you value. If TikTok is outside that for instance, don’t download the app.

  • Delayed gratification: Anything worth having in life requires working hard for a long period of time. Online we get instant gratification everywhere. On social media we are hit with stimulation everywhere, spiking our dopamine.

I experimented a lot and tried different ways to minimize my time online while still having an online presence.

It led me to come up with a way to look at it myself that suited my life, which I call “Digital Discipline”.

At least for me, the solution was to find a sense of purpose and direction in my life and then to apply discipline to my digital habits.

That changed my situation 180 degrees. I am believe the same can happen for a lot of other people too.

Because let’s face it. It is hard to not have any social media presence.

But if we manage to reduce the time we spend there to the bare minimum and are disciplined with our time online, we can maximize the benefits while not losing a lot of time and energy.

Final thoughts

Our lives are ticking away every second. You want to be there for it, capturing the moment, enjoying it and seizing it, not staring at a screen.

To start living life fully, I had to be conscious about the time I spend online. That is probably true for many others as well.

I freed up so much time and energy by removing notifications and minimizing digital entertainment that I turned my life around completely. Try it out.

You can download a FREE chapter from my book Digital Discipline and get more time and energy!

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