Welcome to part 2 of Decluttering Digital Distractions. If you missed part one, you can find it here

In part one, I discussed how technology use added to our mental clutter. In part two, the focus is on taking a step back and beginning to evaluate and monitor your technology use.

How much of your screen time is unproductive?

Have you recently checked your screen time usage? Like really checked it and not just swiped away the notification? If you haven’t, it is worth looking into. You may be surprised how much time you spend immersed in the digital world. With a quick peek into your screen time stats you can see how your time is spent online.

You most likely spend some time checking the weather, reading the news, or ordering your groceries. However, chances are high that most of your time online is wasted being unproductive. If your stats allow, you might even be able to see how many times you picked up your device that day. Your life isn’t in your device, it’s right in front of you. Are you okay with the statistics that you are seeing?

Evaluate

I wish there was a list of distractions that I could provide so we could all remove them but it’s not that simple. We are all so different and we all use our devices in different ways. 

For me, Facebook was a huge waste of time and caused me to be annoyed about things that I didn’t even need to know. For you, Facebook might be the main way you stay connected with your family. 

After you take a minute to look at your screen time breakdown, you should analyze what you’re seeing. If social networking is taking up a huge chunk of your time, stop and think about what you are doing when you are spending your time there and if you feel like it is productive. If you are just mindlessly scrolling through your newsfeed or posting every detail of your life, you may want to pause and rethink your choices.

Everyone’s circumstances are different. It is up to you to evaluate your technology use and to determine what is a distraction and what is helpful and productive. 

Monitor

First and foremost you need to recognize how you are spending your time on your device. Pay close attention anywhere from a day to a week and keep track of why you picked up your device and then what you actually did while you were on it. 

Are you spending too much time on your device?

Ask yourself the following questions to see if you are spending too much time on your device.

  • Is your device always in your hand?
  • Do you check your device when you hear a notification no matter what you are doing?
  • Do you stay on your device even if family members are trying to interact with you?
  • Do you bring your device with you everywhere you go? 
  • Do you notice that even when you are with other people, you don’t interact and instead everyone is on their own devices?
  • Do you immediately reach for your device when you want to sit down for a minute to relax?
  • Do you check your device as soon as you wake up?

Quick Tip

If you catch yourself doing something online that is unproductive stop yourself. Pick a phrase that you can tell yourself each time you notice you are wasting time online. The phrase could be as simple as “this is unproductive” or “this is a distraction”. Just say the phrase once to yourself and then put down your device. 

Looking ahead

Stay tuned for part three for some tips and suggestions for different ways you can declutter some distractions and decrease your screen time.