Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tricks to Control My Screen Time

A few weeks ago I took part in "Screen Free Week."  It was a great exercise that really helped me realize how often I use my gadgets every day.  I came away from the week happy to have my screens back, but also looking for better balance.  Here are three little things I've done to help control the amount of time I spend online.

1) I went through my e-mail inbox and "unsubscribed" to every e-mail that I have gotten in the past months that was unwanted or unread.  Goodbye Baker's Square Pie Club, AARP (why I am on their list I do not know...I get their magazine too?!), Early Childhood Conference Updates, Yahoo Group Notifications, Amazon Ads, Concert Series E-mails.  There were a LOT.  I easily spent an hour doing this, and I plan to be diligent for the next few weeks to unsubscribe to everything I don't want.

I don't know about you, but I have a bit of a Pavlovian dog response when I hear the "new mail" ding on my phone or iPad.  The fewer times a day I hear it, the fewer times I am once again pulled back to my screens.  Which brings me to the next one...

2) I turned off the notifications on my phone and iPad.  I don't want the pop-up facebook notifications, or google+ or pinterest.  I don't want dings or beeps.  I don't need to hear when I have an e-mail...I'll find it soon enough.

3) I went through my facebook newsfeed and hid posts from groups I have "liked" in the past and people I don't need to hear about every day.  I didn't unfriend anyone, but I ruthlessly cut down my newsfeed.  I also left groups I no longer participate in, and deleted a bunch of apps.  Now I get to the bottom of the feed much faster and spend less time puttering around on facebook.  I don't know what I'm missing- and so far the world continues to spin for me.

All in all, it took me about two hours to do all of this, and I am confident it will save me a lot more than those two hours in the future.  Besides, it feels kind of good to be in charge.  Take that, time-stealing-media.  You don't own me :)

Do any of you have good tricks for taming technology?!


  1. Excellent tricks! I don't have any notification sounds on my phone or computer either. (I sometimes wonder if it makes me check things more.)

  2. Those are great! I try to do social media free weekends, which help re-charge me

  3. I really need to find some balance. I also have that response when I get those email dings, etc. I have not considered turning them off, but maybe I should. I have also heard lately of folks instituting "office hours" specified times to work on blogging, etc. I like that idea a lot, however, with kids and ever-changing schedules I am finding it hard to find a times when I could consistently commit to those "office hours."