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Stop the screen time: Email, TikTok and WhatsApp

Does it feel like you’re constantly looking at your screen? If so, you’re not alone. According to USwitch, UK adults spend half of every day in front of a screen; whether it’s work, social media, or chatting with friends. If you’d like to reduce your screen time, here are our tricks to help you put your emails, TikTok and WhatsApp down.

Emails: turn off banners, and set boundaries

If you’re a person who checks their emails compulsively, it might be worth thinking about why. Is there a boss or manager who expects a reply within ten minutes? Do you check your emails rather than focusing on a more demanding task? Or do you feel that you owe everyone an immediate response?

If you’re striving for an empty inbox, you might need to set some boundaries. Try checking your email twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the afternoon. Having a set amount of time to focus on emails prevents them from becoming a way to procrastinate, whilst ensuring that everyone gets a response in good time. 

You could also try turning off banners, particularly those with previews on. That way, if an email comes in you’re unable to start reading the preview and start mentally drafting a reply. 

TikTok: set a time limit

TikTok is a common app for people to get lost in. Unlike most other applications, TikTok doesn’t allow you to see the clock at the top of your screen. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you’re more likely to turn to an app like TikTok which has quick, stimulating video content to distract you - and completely lose track of the time.

To set a time limit on the app, head to your account, then Settings and Privacy, and scroll down to Digital Wellbeing. From there you can select Screen Time Management to set a limit on your watch time, and once you reach the time limit, you’ll need to enter a passcode to keep using the app. 

The shortest amount of time you can select is 40 minutes, but setting a timer on your phone for shorter time periods is a good way to snap you out of the TikTok hole too.

WhatsApp: no more read receipts

Just like emails, instant messenger applications like WhatsApp encourage you to respond to your friends as quickly as possible. Now, just being ‘left on read’ is a social faux pas. The issue with instant messaging is that it’s very easy to get pulled into a long conversation, even if you were aiming for a quick check in. 

If you’re feeling that pull to respond as soon as a message comes in, one of the most effective things you can do is turn off read receipts. This way, you can read messages from your friends without feeling that you need to respond immediately. 

To turn these off, head to Settings, then Account, then Privacy, and turn off read receipts. This will turn off those blue ticks for one-on-one chats.

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