Mindful Living Challenge – Reducing Screen Time {Week One}

“Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.” – Rachel Naomi Remen


Early last month, I got some soap in my eye.

Strange way to start a post, huh? Haha! But it’s true, I tell you – I was just casually washing my face, and right into my eye the soap went. (My tendency to move quickly in everything I do flung some flyaway suds right up and blinded me.) This burned fiercely and I suddenly found myself crying profusely. I rubbed my eyes and blinked rapidly, and thankfully, it did not take me long to recover.

Over the course of the day, however, I felt this misfortune’s lingering affects. My eye (either the eye itself or the eyelid, who knows) twitched on and off, which in itself made me nervous since I’m deathly scared of eye pain. Once evening came, my vision blurred a few times, which was just terrifying.

The main thing I was plagued by during this period of time, which was only a couple hours at the most, was that I couldn’t use my phone. My mom recommended I cut back and give my eye a break, which I did … but I cannot tell you how many things I thought I should look at on my phone. The temptation to snatch up my cellular device and get reconnected to whoever I was in contact with that day was overwhelming.

I don’t realize just how much I use my phone.

Although … do any of us?

I have experienced a great many highs and lows since I received my first phone in 2014.

There are plenty of times I could recall where my phone came in handy, where its presence by my side was a blessing to me … but there are far more times where it has plagued me and affected my life negatively.

I’ll watch videos and read blog posts and listen to music, thinking I’m doing something enjoyable with my time. Hours pass, and I am occupied … but when those times of captivation and activity come to an end, I feel as though I’ve been sitting in the same place, doing nothing.

That isn’t far from the truth.

Phones are fluent in the ability to make you feel occupied one moment, then beyond bored in the next.

Scarcely has there been a time in my life when I finished scrolling through the depths of Pinterest, or WordPress, or YouTube, and thought, “I just got a lot done!”

How can something that holds my attention for so long be absolutely worthless in the long run??!

I think it’s because much of what we do on our phones is allow our minds to wander.

If I don’t have anything I’m specifically doing, I’ll most likely pick up my phone. An example of one such occasion may find me checking my email, reading a few comments, scrolling down my YouTube home feed, pinning a few pins on Pinterest … and all of a sudden, 45 minutes are gone and I can’t remember what I was supposed to be doing. IT’S AMNESIA.

I think that phones, as well as other electronic devices, are extremely full of potential. I believe that if you’re mindful of how you’re going to use them, they can be beneficial and helpful. But I also think that the majority of us keep our phones nearby to occupy us if whatever we may be doing loses our attention even the tiniest bit.

Honestly, I’m tired of finding myself getting lost in my phone. (That’s a pretty depressing paradox if you ask me.)

“Cell phones bring you closer to the person far away from you, but takes you away from the ones sitting next to you.” – Unknown


For months now, I’ve been thinking about hosting a mindfulness challenge on my blog. I have grown weary of time lost doing useless things, of creating and practicing bad habits, of spending my days not quite knowing where each hour and minute went. Sometimes, it scares me how I really can’t identify one day from the last … did I go there or watch that yesterday, or was it three days ago?

Being mindful will immensely bless my life – I know it will. This all-new blog series is going to keep track of my progress. I’ll be focusing on new things, breaking bad habits, creating new habits, meeting little goals and celebrating how far I’ll go. (I wish I could use that phrase without thinking of Moana. Thanks, Disney.)

I’d like to invite you to come with me for this challenge.

Are you interested in learning how to utilize your time better? Do you want to reduce stress, increase your happiness, and truly enjoy your life?

I can’t quite guarantee that all that will happen for you if you join me in this challenge, haha, but hey, we’re all in this thing called life together!


As you can tell by the whole of this post, my focus for this week is: reducing screen time.

We all have different reasons why we want to cut back on how much we’re looking at screens.

Why I Want To Look At My Phone Less:

  • I want my family to have my full attention. (That’s so important to me!)
  • I want my neck and shoulders to stop hurting.
  • I want to give my eyes a break.
  • I want to feel like I’m truly enjoying my life and spending each day wisely.
  • I want to pick it up when I’m actually doing something useful with it, and not as a boredom buster.
  • I want the people I spend time with to know that I care more about them than the people I talk to online.
  • I want to fall out of the habit of picking it up hundreds of times a day.
  • I want to have it nearby, without always holding it or having it on me.
  • I want to better divide my time between different screens instead of primarily using my phone.
  • I want to prevent getting arthritis in my thumbs from fast typing. (That’s a scary thought.)

Why do you want to look at your phone less?
Will you join me on this challenge?

“Give the people in your life the gift of your presence by putting down your mobile device.” – Kate Northrup


33 thoughts on “Mindful Living Challenge – Reducing Screen Time {Week One}

  1. Great post! This is such a true thing – every time I hop on the computer to do almost anything, I end up spending at least half an hour (most of the time more) just doing random (somewhat) meaningless things.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Hannah! ❤ I think it's crazy how easily we get sucked into electronics. It feels fulfilling at the time, but most of what I look at on my phone doesn't mean a thing to me later. XD That's why I have to be careful!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy New Year Maggie! I really like the new format of your blog (if you made this change awhile ago, I apologize for just noticing it now). This is such a timely post. I think that we can all advocate for more time away from the screen, and more time just being present to whatever, or with whomever is needing our attention at that moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww thanks, Ashley! 🙂 (I just changed it recently, so you’re not too late, haha!) That’s certainly very true. Unless we’re actively aware of it, electronics (especially phones) take us away from a lot of other tasks that require our attention!

      Like

  3. This is a great post, and you are so right! I think I will join you on this challenge, Maggie… I am not usually too bad about it, but lately I have been spending alot of time online. I might limit myself to a certain amount of time a day… Thanks!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is very true!! Last fall, I installed an app on my phone called QualityTime, and it tells me how many times I unlock my phone a day, as well as how much time I spend on it, and how much time I spent on each app. It was so eyeopening!! I didn’t realize I spent so much time on social media, for starters, and so much time I spent was pointless! Now that I have a better idea of what my usage is like, it makes it so much easier to cut down on the time I use my phone, and I really recommend the app! Kudos to you for recognizing the problem and trying to fix it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds like such a helpful app! I really started paying attention to my screen time when I got my iPhone SE, which has a feature in settings that lets you know basically how much time you waste on your phone. 😂 When I found out my screen time average was nearly FIVE HOURS, that was encouragement enough to start cutting back!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay you’ve got me on so many levels in this post 😂 For one thing- arthritis scares me too! I’ve wondered if I’m the only person who’s pondered this lol.

    I love the idea of this challenge and not eliminating phone use, but breaking the habits we have with it. Sometimes it’s a boredom buster for me. Sometimes I end up scrolling more than I’d planned due to fear of missing out on something!

    Maybe a designated “phone station” in your house would help? A cute little basket or place out of the way to sit your phone when you’re done with it. That way, when the urge strikes to scroll, you have to get up and go to that place to retrieve it. It would give a few extra moments to consider if it’s worthwhile and make it a more mindful action because it isn’t as convenient as if it were sitting a couple inches from your hand. I always find it’s helpful for me when I station my phone in the other room.

    Looking forward to reading more on this! 😁💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Jess! ❤ You're definitely not the only person who thinks that, haha – it's a scary thought! Just because we can type quickly now doesn't mean there won't be consequences later XD

      Same here! It's very easy to think that if we don't have our phone in hand, then we'll miss out on important videos and posts – it's a vicious cycle. There's certainly the right time to look at our phones!

      That would very much help me! It would be nice if I had a place where I keep it within hearing distance in different parts of the house. I either have it by my side or in my room where I can't hear if someone calls me, and neither are very good habits. lol

      Thanks for the advice and recommendations!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so important! My boyfriend owns his own businesses, so he’s on social media quite a bit and his email responding to people all the time. Whenever we’re together when I get home from work, I try to have us both put our phones away for a while so we don’t waste the night not even connecting IRL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand that – it can get very hard to balance when it’s something you have to do! Yes, I’ll do that, as well – if I’m in the room with multiple members of my family, we’ll all encourage each other to actually interact instead of just being near each other xD

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A few things: 1) I enjoyed reading this post. You did a great job writing it in a way that not only got my attention, but kept me entertained. I’ve seen others write about this topic, but you did it best. 2) I can 100% relate to the feeling of getting lost in my phone, so much so that I’ve completely ignored what’s happening around me. Scary considering I stay home with my 4 year old and 4 month old while my older two go to school. 3) I like to think I only pick up my phone when I need to do something important, but I get distracted sometimes.

    I’m not into New Years resolutions, but I did sort of make my own promise to try and be more mindful of my screentime – before reading this. The fact that I found your blog post so soon after the New Year is proof that I need to do this challenge.

    I’m in.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A very motivating post indeed !! But phones can be used for constructive purposes like increasing knowledge. The only thing is that we have will and self control. Why be slave of a machine whose purpose is to serve us!! Socializing and staying busy with constructive work helps reduce the yearn to check your phone time and again.

    Like

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