I tried seven hacks to reduce my phone screen time during Ramadan - here’s what happened

I managed to reduce the time I spent on my phone by two hours

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

During Ramadan, I used my phone a lot more - probably as a substitute for eating. When I needed a break from work, I scrolled through my phone instead of searching for a snack and during lunch, I opted to use my phone over staring at the wall (not always the best choice). 

Google says that screen time, beyond work, should be limited to around two hours a day, and that includes all screens from the TV, to your laptop and phone. But recent research has suggested people in the UK spend up to four hours on their phones alone. I can’t quite give up TV so I tried some ‘hacks’ to reduce the time I spend glued to my phone instead. Here’s what happened. 

Hack 1 - Time restrictions:

Fortunately, I work from home so when my alarm went blaring off to wake me up I immediately thought a) I should invest in an alarm clock and b) how can I reduce the time I spend scrolling through my phone instead of actually getting up. This was hard as I usually read the news (via Twitter) at this time but I had turned on a limit the night before - one  hour for all social channels across the next 24 hours. Did I really want to waste some time on Twitter now when I definitely would need it for later? No. It helped but I’m not sure if this is something I could commit to every day, perhaps I could incorporate this a few times a week. 

Hack 2 - Leaving my phone in another room:

Simple. Easy. Highly effective. This one I would recommend. There were no gadgets or tricks, I put my phone on charge and went to work in another room - out of sight, out of mind. Although I was still on my work laptop, and therefore looking at a screen, I wasn’t as distracted by a scrolling rabbit hole as I would have been if my phone was right next to me. 

Hack 3 - Walking around:

Hunched over a laptop for a few hours is never a good look, and, surprise surprise, very bad for you. Normally when I need a five-minute wind down from work I’d pick up my phone and answer all my messages, check the latest news (Rip Taylor Swift & Joe Alwyn), or spend it on Instagram reels. This time, I decided to walk around and stretch my legs by moving from room to room. However, I did make myself a cup of tea before realising I can’t drink it, but it would be good to use when not fasting. 

I managed to reduce the time I spent on my phone by two hoursI managed to reduce the time I spent on my phone by two hours
I managed to reduce the time I spent on my phone by two hours

Hack 4 - Lunchtime walks:

By lunch, which was at 1pm, I had been on my phone to answer some notifications and complete my Duolingo language lesson so as not to lose out on the streak. It was impractical of me to think I could avoid my phone the whole working day, and soon began to miss its convenience and distraction. However, I was aware I was trying to reduce my screen time so I made an active effort to do something ‘healthier’ and went for a walk. 

I ended up doing some errands I kept putting off - which was helpful. I used my phone for Spotify, but just kept off it for the rest of the time after messaging a co-worker to see what time my lunch was supposed to end. The lunchtime walk felt like a good break in the day and something I think I’d be incorporating more regularly. 

Hack 5 - Other hobbies:

Work is exhausting, especially when fasting and a bit sleep deprived. It’s at this time when it’s great to catch up on social media whilst preparing food for iftar. But with over three hours to go I needed to find an alternative to being on my phone for an hour. I had begun reading The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie a while ago and got to murder B. I enjoyed the book but often put it off in favour of something else so I decided to pick up from where I left off and ended up reading for the hour. 

Hack 6 - Adhering to time limits:

Towards the end of the evening, I went on my phone to catch up with my notifications and answer all my messages. The idea was to reduce my screen time and not completely avoid my phone so I took this time to use most of the allotted hour of social media I had given myself. But after scrolling through Instagram and replying to a few messages I was greeted by a screen saying I had reached my limit. There were a few options to extend my time - including turning off the limit altogether. Suffice to say, these limits only work if you actively choose to adhere to them. 

Hack 7 - Downtime:

iPhone allows users to turn on Downtime, where app usage can be limited by having certain apps soft blocked and notifications hidden. If you click on the app you’ll get a screen saying ‘Time Limit’ which makes you think ‘do I really need to be on the app right now?’. I set mine for the standard 11pm up until 7am. This is customisable and can be implemented for the day instead of night - which I guess could help reduce screen time. It’s hard to say for certain as the feature can be switched off with no effort. 

The aim to reduce my phone screen time was successful as on Monday, I spent three hours and 57 minutes on my phone but on Tuesday that was reduced to 1 hour and 48 minutes. Reducing my screen time by two hours was hard, and not something I see myself being able to do everyday but there were some hacks I’ll start implementing into my daily routine. I liked leaving my phone in another room and moving around rooms throughout the day as well as going for lunch time walks. However, I found time limits and Downtime annoying and almost counterproductive as they can easily be switched off.

Related topics: