6 Tips on How to Limit Your Screen Time and Stay Productive


Sophia Jiang

Putting down your phone isn’t easy – I know this from firsthand experience. But monitoring screen time is important in order to stay healthy (read why here)! Below is a list of tips that I like to use in order to limit my phone use.

1. The productive hour

Reading a book, drawing, doing homework, or going outside for a run are great non-phone activities! Now, instead of clicking on a social media or entertainment app such as Netflix or Tiktok, click on the clock app and set a timer for 15 minutes. Do your activity for 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, reset it. In total, go through four 15-minute sessions. And before you know it, you just had one entire productive hour! After the hour is over, feel free to check messages and go on social media for a maximum of 5 minutes, no more! Then you can repeat the process again. I like this method because of the timing breakup: four sessions is the perfect number of study periods, and 15 minutes is not terribly long either, yet that’s an entire hour that you spent being productive!

2. Allot only 2 hours of your day to recreational screen time

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that teens can have only a maximum of 2 hours of screen time per day. Let’s say you really want to spend some time watching your favorite show, but you are also an avid Tiktok viewer. Watching two 30-minute episodes and spending an hour on Tiktok adds up to about two hours, and the same goes for watching four episodes and not spending any time on Tiktok. Divide your screen activities however you choose, but only allow yourself 2 hours in total! If you really need to, make yourself a chart and record the time you spend on each screen pastime.

3. Save it for Friday night!

Friday nights are fun nights, there’s no denying that! So save the majority of your phone time for a day that it’s meant to be on instead of sacrificing your precious, productive week days. 

4. Doing homework in the house? Put your phone in a closet or drawer in another part of the house

Why not temporarily get rid of the issue itself? I use this method all the time; when I am doing homework in my bedroom, I put my phone in the cabinet downstairs so I won’t even be able to check it while being productive.

5. Go out with friends as a replacement for screens, not as a supplement

Nothing beats in-person hangouts, so make the most of them! Try spending as little time as possible on your phone while doing something fun with your friends. Use these hangouts as your “break time” instead of phones! Doing so will give you the best possible quality of social interaction with your friends. 

6. Charge your phone away from your bed

For many teens, phones are the last thing they see before they go to bed, and the first thing they see in the morning when they wake up. A way to prevent the temptation of looking at your phone before sleep or after waking up is to charge your phone elsewhere. If you use your phone as an alarm, try going for a traditional alarm clock instead.