Put Down Your Phone!: 6 Ways To Turn Screen Time into Reading Time

2017 is here! One of my primary goals this year is to read more (yes, I’ll admit, this is a goal I have EVERY year 😄 ), but more specifically, I want to cut down on screen time to allow for more reading hours. Of course, this is easier said than done, so I brainstormed a list of 6 concrete ways to help me reach my goals. Hopefully they can be helpful to your reading life as well!

Put reading on my daily to-do list

I’ll be totally honest here and say that after a long day at work, I like plopping myself in front of the TV and binge-watching shows on Netflix. However, if I have items on my to-do list that haven’t been checked off, I can’t fully relax and enjoy myself (I’m a “J” in Myers Briggs – what can I say?). So, I figure that if I write out “Read for 1 hour” on my to-do list, I will make myself forgo TV time and pick up a book instead.

Add reading to my online calendar

Similar to the to-do list, adding “reading” as a calendar item will help me remember to prioritize reading over other activities (e.g. mindlessly scrolling through Facebook) that I haven’t put on my schedule. I might even set up my calendar to send notifications whenever I’m scheduled to read.

Find a reading buddy

Just as exercise buddies help people trying to lose weight stay accountable and motivated, reading buddies can do the same for folks trying to stay away from screens and to read more. I think books are always more fun to read when I have someone with whom I can share my thoughts. Plus a reading buddy could send friendly texts to keep me on track (and vice versa). Something like: “Have you read your 30 pages today?” or “Are you playing Candy Crush right now?”

Only read print books or eReaders without web access

When I read on an iPad, I find myself checking email, looking at photos on Instagram, and reading Tweets right in the middle of my book, even when I’m loving the story. The fix? Don’t read on an iPad! Easy peasy.

Go out to a coffee shop or library and leave electronics in the car

The downside to this one is that I might get distracted by my surroundings, but I think it’s worth a shot, at least as an experiment.

Use the Forest app

There are lots of productivity apps out there, but Forest is specifically made to help you put down your phone so you can get other work done. In the app, you plant a tree each time you want to spend time away from your phone. You set a timer, and if you don’t leave the Forest app during the allotted time, a tree grows. If you do leave the app to check something else on your phone, the tree withers and dies.
Here’s my plan: I read for hours and hours without letting my phone distract me and I’ll get through more books this year than ever before PLUS I’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, lush forest! It’s a win, win!


Do you have any tips on how to cut down on screen time and read more? Share in the comments below!

One response to “Put Down Your Phone!: 6 Ways To Turn Screen Time into Reading Time”

  1. Jenny Avatar

    Glenn, after I told him about the Forest app:
    What the **** do I care about a fake ass electronic tree?

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