March 12, 2018

Reducing Screen time–and the menu plan!

I have a love/hate relationship with my iphone.

I love that little monster like woah.  I love having the world at my fingers.  Literally.  There’s no song I can’t listen to, no book I can’t read, no directions I can’t find.  As someone who loves information, there’s something magical about having all of time and space, pretty much, stuffed in my pocket.

Or my bra, because women’s pockets aren’t always up to holding their phones.

Over time, I’ve become more and more dependent on my phone.  This doesn’t make me much different from most people.    It’s easy to over look the drawbacks when it connects you to distant friends and family while finding you the best recipe for osso buco .It’s easy to lose site of how much time you spend on it when it holds your phone, your pictures, your social contacts, your books and candy crush.

Over the years, I’ve wanted to wean myself off of using my phone so much.   I don’t want to STOP using it. I like it. I like e-books.  I like having a camera with me at all times.  I like seeing what my kid is thinking via Snap Chat.  But, I don’t like the time that floats through my fingers when I’m using my phone.

A few years ago, Big Daddy and I downloaded (and paid for) a phone use tracking app called Moment (iOS only).   Moment was pretty cool.  It allowed us to set limits as a family and current versions of Moment allow you to see in which apps you’re spending your time as well as isolating some apps from being counted.  For instance, I would keep my time spent reading in  the Kindle app from being counted into my use time.  But, I started having battery draining problems that coincided with using Moment, so I stopped.

This year, I am endeavoring to do better and that means I have to put down the phone.  I found a new app that is a little less feature rich than Moment, but much more kind to my battery called Mute.   There is some complaints that it seems to not be as accurate at counting time as Moment.  That hasn’t been my experience.  It is critical that when you are not using your phone, when using Mute, that you must press the power button to lock the screen/”turn the screen off” and maybe that’s where some users are having issues.   Not realizing that those pick up the phone to check time/notifications counts in your total.

Mute allows you to set screen time limits AND pick up limits and rewards you for “detox time” allowing you to also see how much time you spent apart from your phone.   I also like that Mute counts time using YOUR waking hours and not a 24-hour clock.  It doesn’t reset it’s time keeping until you go to sleep for the day, so thumbs up for that.

The stat I’ve found most interesting is how frequently I check my phone.  I find pick ups interesting, of course, but I find that I really check my phone a lot.  That’s a statistic I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise.

Upon researching this blog post, I have also found an app called Forest.  It’s available for android and iOS and rewards you for focusing outside of your phone by growing trees and flowers earned by your screen free time.   However, Forest seems to be less a screen free app and more of a pomodoro-esque app, rewarding you for completing screen free goals more than being a screen tracker.   I was initially worried that Mute and Forest wouldn’t work together because you cannot close out of the Forest app (meaning Forest would count you as using screen time),  But, the screen does lock in the expected amount of time so Mute shouldn’t be affected at all.

Do you have any good ideas for reducing screen time?  I’d love to hear them!


The Menu Plan

Monday Sheet Pan Italian Chicken and Veggies with rolls

Tuesday Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Creole with Rice

Wednesday Turkey Chili and cornbread

Thursday Air Fryer Chicken nuggets (plain and buffalo) and baked broccoli mac and cheese

Friday Dinner Out

Saturday Easy Instant Pot Corned Beef (check in for the recipe on Friday!)




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