As we approach summer, a season that many of us use to catch up on our favorite TV shows, the lazy screen-sucking habits can start to set in. That’s why I made it one of my 2016 New Year’s resolutions to cut down on the amount of time I spend with technology. Let’s be honest, twenty-somethings (and people in general, if we’re being real) spend way too much time online these days. We all do it. I, for one, want to spend more time with people than I do looking at computer screens, and this is how I plan to do it. Here are seven ways to unplug this summer.
1. Monitor your computer use.
Are you spending your computer time being productive? If you’re spending your time online pinning things for three hours or Netflix binging, it’s time to reevaluate. Try to limit your computer use to work or school related activities. Leave the Pinterest detours for days when you want to try a new recipe or DIY, the Netflix binges for sick days and the YouTube tutorials for when you’re actually going to attempt a new hairstyle.
2. Limit your phone usage to calls, emails and texts only.
I know, data exists for a reason, but that reason isn’t for you to be glued to your iPhone all day. Recently, I’ve tried to keep only messaging apps (Messenger, GroupMe, an emailing app) or music apps (Spotify, Pandora, an app for guitar chords) on my phone. This way, I’m actually only using my phone to send and receive messages, make phone calls or to listen to and play music. It cuts down on your screen time when you aren’t constantly getting notifications or checking 15 different apps.
3. Delete unnecessary apps.
This goes with the above. How do you know what apps to get rid of? A good rule of thumb: if it’s not connecting you with people (e.g. via messaging or calling) and doesn’t serve as a tool (e.g. playing music, a translator, chord finder app, etc.), then delete it. Try to keep your extra apps to a minimum.
4. Don’t pull out your phone when you’re bored.
I know, it’s hard. It’s so easy to check your phone when there’s nothing else to do. Read a book, get ahead on work, go on a walk, exercise, journal, play an instrument—do anything but get on your phone. If you are going to pull out your phone, call your mom or a friend so that you’re using your time to connect with people instead of mindlessly staring at your phone screen for an hour.
5. Carry a watch.
Leave your phone in your room when you don’t really need to use it. If you’re carrying it so you can keep track of time, invest in a good watch. That way, when you go to check the time, you won’t be sucked in by whatever is on your phone screen. Plus, it’s a lot more respectful to those around you when you check a watch while they’re talking instead of a phone.
6. Turn on email notifications for your social media accounts.
This will make it easier to wean yourself off of checking your newsfeed constantly. You can turn on Facebook and Twitter email notifications so that you’ll get an email if anything “important” (none of it’s really important, let’s be honest) happens and it’ll keep you from opening those apps or websites a thousand times a day.
7. Only watch TV and movies as a social activity.
Save TV and movies for social occasions, like a movie night or a “The Bachelor” watch party. This will force you to make sure you’re spending more time connecting with people than your TV screen.
Ready to cut down on your screen time? Try these tips this summer. Happy unplugging!