Téa Angelos was raking in over 12 hours of screen time on her phone every day when she first considered she might need to cut back.
Like many of us, her phone has become intrinsically linked with her work - Téa is the founder of the Smart Women Society, a community that provides women with career, money, wellbeing and love advice. Being connected is essential.
But it wasn't the way that her device interrupted her sleep each night with notifications buzzing from under her pillow, or the migraines she was having due to non-stop blue light exposure that prompted her to change her habits.
It wasn't her lack of ability to focus, daily eye aches, or skyrocketing anxiety. It was actually a dinner with a few close friends that left her feeling "deeply embarrassed".
"We were discussing our latest life updates and as usual, I was flicking through Instagram stories at the same time. It went quiet for a moment and my friend looked at me and said, 'Téa, can you please put your phone away? You’re always on it and honestly, it’s rude'.
"My face immediately felt flushed and despite apologising profusely, I was so deeply embarrassed. I knew it was bad, but I just couldn’t stop... [At that point] I knew I had to make a change."
As the productive woman she is, Téa devised a plan to bring down her screen time without cutting her phone out completely, and allowing her to keep up her social media presence.
It involved implementing five rigid boundaries.
1. Making her bedroom a phone-free zone.
First, Téa whipped out the big guns. With evening doom-scrolling being one of her biggest screen time culprits, she committed to leaving her phone in another room when going to bed in the evening.
"I now leave my phone to charge in another room so I’m not tempted to scroll until the early hours or check it as soon as I open my eyes in the morning.
"My pre-sleep routine now consists of writing my to-do list and schedule for the following day then reading a few chapters of a book. I even bought an old-school alarm clock for my morning wake-up," she told Mamamia.
2. Not checking her phone as soon as she wakes up.
"As an extension to the boundary above, I avoid checking my phone for the first 30-60 minutes of my day," Téa said.
That means breathing exercises, journalling, getting dressed, eating breakfast and getting into a good headspace, all before switching her phone on for the day.
3. Turning off notifications.
"To stay productive during the day, I have implemented ‘focus’ blocks where I do my important work tasks without distractions. During these blocks, I use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Focus’ features on my phone to silence notifications and alert others that I am not available," Téa said.