Want To Reduce Your Screen Time? Here’s How:

I’m sure a lot of you want to reduce your screen time. It’s easier said than done, but it is do-able. We’re not alien to the science that proves lower screen time is better for us. So how do we turn that information into actionable steps?

These five tips are ones I stick to religiously and they help keep my phone screen time under an hour a day.

My desk and my bed are literally centimetres apart so this is the only angle I could get 🤣

Mini disclaimer time: 

We live in a virtual age – so don’t set unattainable goals. We need screens to function in this modern world and ‘screen time’ shouldn’t be shameful. Technology opens up so many doors. It’s saved us during the pandemic. We must keep in mind that is the backbone to our lives. This post is simply to help reduce excess screen time, like scrolling or browsing or looking at memes that aren’t even funny (that last one was for me).

1. Avoid an hour before bed

I do use the night light filter on my phone, iPad, laptop etc from around 6pm onwards. Even with this added protection, screens aren’t ideal just before bed. I like to switch off at 8pm on weekdays, and sometimes even earlier. You’re not putting down your phone for the sake of putting down your phone, you’re doing it because it benefits your health! Keep this in mind as you start switching off more regularly. In the beginning it can be a struggle but when you get past that stage you start seeing the many benefits low screen time gives. Often additional screen time is wasted time anyway.

2. Avoid an hour after waking up

Those first few peaceful moments in the morning should be savoured before the day kicks in. By leaving them on the side in the morning, you’re not only reducing your screen time but also allowing for more headspace. More clarity. Less clutter.

3. No screens when eating

If you stop using screens when eating meals, you’ll notice how significantly your screen time drops. Often you won’t just be on your phone while eating, but once you’ve finished you’ll continue and oops half an hour just vanished. 

4. Timelapse study periods/productive hours

Obviously this won’t make your screen time any lesser according to your phone, but you won’t actually be using your phone is more the point. When you study – TIMELAPSE! Then you can’t possibly go on your phone without interrupting the timelapse. And who wants to end a satisfying roll of film? Not you. This trick is really handy when you need to concentrate on something – not necessarily studying.

I always post these time lapses to my Instagram story so if you need a little bit of study inspiration please check out my ‘study’ highlight ✨

5. Replace your phone with other recreational activity 

Please don’t be that fool who promises themselves ‘the time I gain from not being on my phone I’ll use to do this, this and this’. When you normally grab for your phone, grab for something else. And it doesn’t have to be ‘productive’. I have a little Christmas puzzles book that I use in time where it would be normal to ‘just scroll’. Some good ideas are wordsearches, a book, knitting, listening to music, crosswords, journaling. I go on my phone as a distraction when things get too difficult, and my phone makes me happy/hold me off the problem for a while. Find something that will make you happy and carry it around with you, like a phone, so when you do want a little break you can do that instead of scrolling.

Knitting is my happy distraction ☺️

One of my goals for 2021 is to be a little more ‘analouge’ and less ‘digital’. Some weekends I completely switch off from social media without warning. I am a bit of a micro-influencer these days, and sometimes a digital cleanse makes me feel guilty towards my audience. But it shouldn’t. Because you’re always here for me. And that’s why I love you so much. 

Thank you for reading!

Which one of these tips are you going to put into action? Do you have any desire to reduce your screen time, and why?

Want to have some deeper chats in the comments today, so please do leave your thoughts below. 

Catherine x

P.S ONE MONTH UNTIL CHRISTMAS EVE AHHHHHH!!!!!!!

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THE Top 5 Things You Can Do The Night Before A Productive Morning

If you’ve clicked on this post, it’s probably because you want to either wake up earlier, be productive in the mornings, or both.

And if that is the case this post probably isn’t the first ‘how to have a good morning routine’ you’ve ever read.

Therefore you will be familiar with the phrase that a ‘good morning starts the night before.’ Although that phrase gets on your nerves for the amount of times it is repeated… it is so true.

In today’s blog post I will be outlining 5 things you can do the night before a productive morning.

Enjoy!

1) Set Out Clothes

This practise is drilled into me. I have been doing it for at least four years, and it helps reduce the friction between waking up at getting ready. Along with the clothes I have picked out for the following day, I also lay down my deodrant, underwear, and watch/accessories. If I plan to have a shower the following morning, I will put out my body cream too. The idea is, when you wake up, you can easily get changed or if you’re a morning shower person – take the pile of clothes into the bathroom. Honestly, once you start doing it your mornings will run much smoother.

2) Go To Bed Earlier

Easier said than done – so I think I’ll have to do a whole blog post about this one. Going to bed earlier energises you. Beds are for sleeping in! Don’t cut that precious sleep time just to wake up earlier. Even if you don’t want to wake up earlier, getting an extra hour or two sleep will allow for your morning to be productive. Running low on sleep does not hand itself well to productivity.

3) Write Your To-Do List

I know some people write their to-do lists in the morning, and this is great. However, writing them the night before is the real turning point. 

Before you go to bed you can order your priorities clearer than first thing in the morning. 

If I ever were to write my to-do list in the morning, I’d probably be rushing to write it so I can just get started and not waste any precious time.

Don’t rush it; do it the night before. Try forward-planning so you don’t overwhelm yourself with a huge list. To-do lists are made to work to your advantage. By taking some extra time, you can really maximise the benefits of a tick list.

(I will write a post about how to create the perfect to-do list)

4) Put Your Alarm On The Other Side Of The Room

I used to think this was bullshit advice. Because I’d wake up, walk over to turn off my alarm, the walk back into bed again. I still do that now! But I do recommend putting your alarm on the other side of the room. This works well for someone with a big room, because there’s more of a walk to turn it off. Whereas for my room there’s one step between the end of my bed and the other side of the room. 

I put my alarm somewhere that I have to get up to walk over to. Nowadays I’m only snoozing once before I get up. It’s not perfect, but we’re getting there.

5) Understand The Routine You Will Follow The Next Morning

No point saying you’ll have a productive morning without knowing what you’re going to do! Think about what you need to do before you start working: breakfast, skincare, get changed… This is different for everyone although don’t skip breakfast. PLEASE! 

Work out an order for those tasks and drill it into your head. Or, if it helps, write it down. Then, the following morning, you’ll know just what you need to do and when so it takes less brain power. The more you follow this ‘ideal routine’ the easier it will become – and you’ll just be on autopilot.

I hope this advice helps you to navigate your mornings better, and allows them to run more smoothly. Let me know which tips you’re going to implement right away! As I said, I will write a post about creating a perfect to-do list and how to go to bed earlier. I think those points deserve a little more explanation. 

What do you like to do before bed every night?

I enjoy washing my face and following my skincare routine. My brain subconsciously knows that when I take my makeup off, the day is over and it’s time to sleep (or read for an awfully long time). 

Have a lovely day,

Catherine x

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What’s In My Schoolbag 2020 | How I Stay Organised

Hello!

Welcome back to the blog. I don’t think I have shared on here (but if I have you may have forgotten) the new upload schedule: Tuesday and Friday! That’s two posts a week over here on the blog and two posts every week on Instagram too (also Tuesday and Friday).

Anyway, you probably just want me to hop straight into the post: What’s In My Schoolbag 2020. Typically these posts come out in early September, but I was on my mini hiatus. I still wanted to spill the ins and outs of my bag, and how I stay organised with my school work. I hope you enjoy!

Le Sac

Most importantly, we have the bag itself. This one was on sale from Cath Kidston a couple of years ago and I have used it ever since. It has a handy laptop compartment and, although I don’t take a laptop to school, it is useful for keeping papers and books straight, neat and not crumpled!

In the main compartment we have:

My Academic Planner

I bought this planner from Ink Outside The Box a few weeks ago – admittedly not at the start of the academic year. They were on sale for much cheaper than the original price, with profits going to charity, because during production some of them went kinda wrong! The main planner is still completely functional however the monthly dividers weren’t in the correct order (I quickly rearranged them though). So yes, ta-daa!!!

A Book

You never see me without a book, and I take one to school with me every day. Currently I’m reading The Magpie Society by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch. I’ll report back once I’ve finished and post my full review to Goodreads! (my username is @cathjaneblog so please don’t hesitate to add me as a friend 😉

My Pencil Case

This one is bigger than last year’s, however it fits my calculator which is really handy. Having the extra space means I can put sticky notes in there too (a student’s dream) and, of course, some snazzy highlighters. I have got into the habit of emptying it out every weekend, sharpening all of the pencils, throwing away the random loose bits of paper – we all collect them – and making it fresh for the following week. It’s a lovely little ritual and motivates me to spend more time studying. Definitely the best part of my school bag!

Bag of Random Things

I also have little drawstring bag that is home to the loose articles I take to school ‘just in case’. That’s a tin of Vaseline, spare mask, extra hand sanitiser, and a little packet of tissues!

Other Stuff…

The front pocket of my bag is home to a pair of socks with non-slip soles for drama. On cold occasions (aka Autumn-Spring) I put my gloves in there too. I don’t keep anything else in the front pocket despite there being space.

A blazer is one of God’s gifts. In there I can put my purse, hand sanitiser, face mask, the planner school provided, phone, bus pass… It’s a fantastic organisation method XD

Sorry if this post is generic and boring, but I’m very happy you stuck until the end!

If you were a school teacher, what subject would you like to specialise in?

Leave your answers to this question below, I can’t wait to read and respond to them! I’m almost certain I’d teach English. Although Geography is by far my favourite subject ❤ 

Thank you for reading,

Catherine x

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Falling In Love With My Bike | Chats With Cath

Looks like I’ve got a new series for you: welcome to Chats With Cath! These posts are going to be a bit longer, for those of you that enjoy a nice sit-down chatty vibe. If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll know how much I love a good ramble. Chats With Cath is going to be an ongoing series where I talk about things that are on my mind. 

Starting with…

Exercise!

We all of have some relationship with exercise. You might love it, or you might detest it. I was one of them people that turned their nose up at the thought of exercise. If that’s you – don’t fear! Just keep exploring exercise until you find a sport that suits you best (for example I can’t stand indoor workouts – I much prefer being in the outdoors!)

Cycling

Cycling didn’t start out as ‘my sport’. Truth be told – I hated it. I tried so hard to not practise even though my mum kept forcing me up on to the seat. I learned how to ride a bike pretty late into my life. I must have been 10? I couldn’t keep myself upright as a rode but then one day – it just clicked. I was riding about in no time. I am very grateful Mum’s persistence in making me learn. As they say – you never forget how to ride a bike.

That bike that I learned to ride on is now much too small for me. As an early Christmas present, my parents bought me a lovely bike. It was over £100 which is really a lot of money! So come Christmas I won’t have a ‘big’ present, if you will, because I already have it. My beautiful bike.

Here she is: I decided to call her Christine, because I love naming inanimate objects. 

I took her out for a spin the other week with my friend. We went on a lovely autumn bike ride together on Halloween. Sadly, the nights drawing in means I can’t get out for exercise in the evenings after school. Weekends are my opportunity to go zooming about and I look forward to it all week (although I try not to get ahead of myself because we need to be grateful for what’s happening now)

It’s October half-term as I’m writing this. I’m having a week long break from school and really feels like lockdown. So I’ve started reflecting and those 6 weird months.

Lockdown

Lockdown was a really turning point for many people and their exercise habits. We had more time to go out and enjoy the great outdoors. The British phenomenon was Joe Wicks and I am ashamed to say I never tried one of his workouts (as I said before, I don’t really like exercise indoors).

Despite the circumstances, I really embraced lockdown. I went out for my daily exercise, did schoolwork, blogged and slept. My mum and I went for a walk almost on a daily basis! It was wonderful and I grew to appreciate my scenery a lot more. I live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. As I have lived here all my life the beauties which other people admire have become ‘the norm’ for me. I speak for many people when I say lockdown made my appreciate everything that little bit more.

I wrote this post before the second lockdown was announced!

Catherine, how does this link to exercise?

I’m a bit gutted I didn’t ask for a bike last Christmas, because lockdown would have been the perfect opportunity to get out on my bike. Now the nights are drawing in I can’t get that exercise anymore. It’s a bit poopy living so far north in the world. It goes dark by 4:30 – and that’s when I get home from school!

I’m just voicing inner frustration here. I do realise how lucky and fortunate I am, to be sat here under a warm blanket writing to an audience of 830 people. 

To finish off this post, I’d just like to say a huge thank you for all of the support.

Not only because of the rebrand, but everything else too.

This is such a lovely space on the Internet and each and every one of you means the world to me.

What’s your favourite way to exercise? Are you more of an at-home workout person or do you enjoy going to the gym?

I’d love to hear about your relationship with exercise and lockdown in the comments.

Love you lots,

Catherine x

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10 Reasons You Should Wake Up Early | How To Be An Early Riser When You Really, Really Don’t Feel Like It

Whether it’s summer, the weekend or still lockdown where you live, sometimes waking up early can be difficult. Without the incentive, you can easily lie in bed for a couple more hours. This post is not only to help you, but also myself. There are many perks to waking up early, and I want to compile them all in a post. So, whenever you’re contemplating a lie-in you remember how good an early start makes you feel.

1) You have some alone time in the morning 

This one appeals to me the most. As someone who enjoys quiet time, in a busy house it can be hard to find. Especially when your brother plays guitar non-stop all day (I’m surprised his fingers are still intact!)

2) Bird song

Maybe the city gals don’t relate to this one, but since I live semi-rurally bird song is not hard to find. If you do live in an urban landscape, I’d recommend turning on bird sounds just to feel more at peace. It’s one of my favourite sounds and it’s always best in the early hours.

3) Early morning sunshine!

During winter and summer, early morning sunshine is at its best. I love the golden glow it emits on to the garden and through the kitchen window. It makes me smile every time I see it!

4) Head start on the day

While everyone else is asleep, you can be cracking on with your to-do list. I always have an afternoon slump so I rely on the mornings to get things done. Then later on, when you hit that wall, you don’t have to fear. You’ve already got a lot of shiz done!

5) Ability to stay off screens for longer before work/school/blog begins

I like to spend time off social media in the morning. However, if you wake up later (say 9am) and have a meeting a 9:30, you won’t have much time to detox from screens before launching yourself straight into work. Wake up early, spend less time on screens in the morning, feel better.

6) Time to meditate (no interruptions)

I’m not the sort of person you’ll find cross legged completing a guided meditation. But meditation is more than the trendy kind you see on YouTube. My form of meditation is journaling. In the morning, not only can I get journaling done and dusted, but I can journal for longer without interruptions.

7) Less time wasted

If I wake up late I feel as if the day has slipped away already, so I don’t force myself to complete much. Whereas when I wake up early I launch into tasks and get much more done. In the evening I’m never productive, so that’s why I like to sleep earlier then I can make the most of my time.

8) The afternoon slump… it’s not as bad for a morning person!

If you wake up earlier, the afternoon slump tends to fall around lunchtime. Therefore you can take your lunch break while you’re feeling a bit demotivated, then refresh and launch back into work. But when I wake up at 8, my slump tends to fall around 3pm.

9) Going for walks while it’s not busy/no screaming children

Dear children, they’re sweet little people but they’re so damn loud. Getting out for your walk early has many benefits: you avoid the blazing sun, it’s nice and cool, no-one is about, children are still in bed. I love quiet so getting out early means there is more tranquility. The only people you encounter are similar minded people! Therefore interaction is avoided at all costs… except for maybe a smile or an awkward ‘hello’.

10) Feels like an accomplishment 

I hear people moan about how they ‘can’t possibly get up so early’. So when I get up early, I just feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post! It’s a little different to my usual, but self-growth is a niche I would like to delve into more. 

Do you enjoy posts like this? What is one thing I’ve mentioned that you relate to?

Have a lovely week everybody! 

catherine x

(I swear I’ve not written such a short post since my six word stories)

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