How to Limit Screen Time for Adults

by Lakshmi Jaisimha

How to limit screen time for adults is a question each of us needs to ask these days.

Whether you are an adult who has just graduated. Or someone who has been toiling hard at a job or business for years, the screen time of the average adult has peaked at an all-time high.

Have you been experiencing neck ache these days? What about eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, insomnia, and weight gain? If you have recently experienced any of these things, chances are the reason is your ever-rising screen time.

Well, this increasing screen time is not only hampering your health but is also decreasing your productivity.

And I guess you know all this, that’s why you are here to understand how to limit screen time for adults when both your personal and professional life are so much connected to the screens.

Wondering How to Limit Screen Time for Adults? Here are 7 Effective Ways!

1. Avoid working on your screens or TV during meals.

Your meals are supposed to act as a break for your mind and body. After all, replenishing your body’s energy is an act of self-care. So, why cancel out the value of this self-care by doing something that harms your body at the same time?

So, avoid your screens when eating.

That mail you are writing while having your lunch, that episode of friends that you want to watch during dinner, and that news article you wish to read while you break your fast in the morning can all wait.

Can you lock the phone away?

2. Put your phone in another room.

Do you know one of the best ways to reduce weight and get into healthy eating is by dumping away all the junk food you have in your house? You have heard of it, right? 

Well, that’s because of two reasons. One when you crave junk food, you will have to go to the market to buy some. This creates resistance. Since we humans are evolved to avoid energy expenditure that does not bring enough value, we don’t take action on that (in most cases). So, you dump the idea of going to the market and get back to whatever you were doing.

The second reason uses the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ principle.

Usually, we are so busy in our lives that we forget to do specific tasks. So, we use reminders or visual cues to remind us of it. Not having junk food at home means we don’t see cookies and cakes lying around talking us into eating them. So, we usually don’t crave them.

I know that was a totally different example, but I hope you got the point.

Leave your phone in another room, that way

  • You don’t crave for it because it is not in front of you reminding you of its existence so you can use it.
  • When you do crave for it, you will have to walk to the next room, and that little effort will increase the resistance. Thus, making you avoid getting the phone unless it feels damn necessary.

3. Pick a hobby.

What do you do most of the time when you pick your phone? Let me guess you scroll through Instagram or LinkedIn. Or maybe you watch a video on youtube or Netflix. 

The reason why you do this is because of getting bored. When you are bored your brain craves dopamine – the happiness hormone.

Activities like using social media and watching entertaining videos are dopamine inducing. The curiosity of ‘did I get a like on my last post’ or that of ‘what has my favorite YouTuber posted today?’ is quite stimulating for your brain.

Now, the answer to how to limit screen time for adults comes with picking a hobby

When you do that, you give your brain some other stimulating activity to do. Painting, reading, writing, teaching at a children’s NGO, cooking, etc. are some very interesting hobbies you can pick in order to replace the on-screen activities. 

4. Make no phone rules under certain circumstances.

Do you not feel bad when you are talking to someone, and they start looking at their phones? Yes, it is a bad and disrespectful habit to have. But it is also damaging considering how it increases our screen time without us realizing it. 

So, make no phone rules for certain circumstances like the above.

No phone on the dining table. No phone in the bathroom. No phone to bed. No phone after 7 pm. No phone for the first hour in the morning. You get the idea.

5. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

These days we learn more from youtube videos and courses online than we did in college. But this learning comes at a cost of increased screen time. Even for books, many people prefer a kindle to a physical book.

A solution is to switch the mode of learning to a no-screen one. If you watch lots of videos, try finding a podcast episode on the same topic and listen to that.

Many times, you will find that the same content creator has both a youtube channel and a podcast. In that case, there is a high chance the person has created a podcast episode for the videos he is posting.

For books, nothing is better than physical books. But you can also try audiobooks.

6. Use the call feature more instead of texting.

I personally don’t like texting. So, thankfully I don’t push my screen time up because of that.


Switch off those notifications

But if you text a lot, you can switch to calls or voice notes to limit screen time.

You see if you are having a great conversation with someone on text, and the conversation goes about an hour or so, you end up with strained eyes. 

When you are on a call, firstly, you reduce the time expenditure overall, plus it doesn’t involve any continuous looking at the screen. So, try to use calls more often.

7. Use grayscale mode.

Remember we talked about dopamine? We discussed how activities like scrolling on social media release dopamine in our brains and stimulate it.

One of the aspects of how social media can release dopamine is color. Our eyes love looking at lively colors.

Imagine watching a black and white movie? No matter how awesome it is, just because of the colors, you will find it really hard to finish it.

That’s because black and white and similar colors are not very stimulating.

Using grayscale mode that turns everything in your phone to black, white, or gray is an incredible technique to not stimulate you, every time you use your phone.

The less the stimulation, the less the craving to use your phone. And slowly, your screen time will reduce.

You can use this on your computer as well.

Parting Thoughts

Those were 7 techniques I have used in the past. You can also try to switch off the notifications on your devices. Especially social media. Along with that, using a voice assistant will also help reduce your screen to a little extent.

Hope this article answered your question of how to limit screen time for adults. 

Have any tips of your own? Why not share them with us in the comments below! It will help the little community we have.

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