Do you limit screen time for your kids? You should do the same for your brain

I spoke to one of my senior clients last week. He said: “On a good day, I have about 10 video calls. On a bad day, it’s up to 15. All lined up one after the other.” Is this our “new normal”? Did we give up physical meetings for a new reality of endless video calls?

One thing is for sure, too much screen time takes a toll on your brain up to the point of shrinking it. Video calls activate the threat response in your brain, and the constant stress of constantly being “on” can temporarily lower your IQ by as much as ten points. Regardless of whether you are watching TV, playing video games, or staring at your colleagues throughout your computer, screen time is anything but good news for your brain. 

So what can you do about it?

“Do you limit screen time for your kids? You should do the same for your brain. “

Do you limit screen time for your kids? You should do the same for your brain. Here is some quick advice on how to achieve that.

1. Define specific time windows without your phone

This could be at a certain hour in the evening, at the weekends, or at specific time windows during the day. Make it specific, e.g. “When I’m with my kids, I turn off my phone”. If you don’t make it specific, it ain’t gonna happen as screens tend to be addictive.

2. Limit the amount of video calls

Before you set up a video call, make sure that there is some true benefit to making it video rather than audio. Could you just set up a conference call instead? And if not, consider allowing everyone to turn off their video while someone else is speaking. For your brain, less is more. 

3. Define alternative activities from the onset

What are you going to do with your time? Here are some ideas: Take a walk, cuddle with someone you love, read a book, enjoy nature. Or take what I like to call a “meeting of one”. When you are jumping from one video call into the next, when do you ever have time to think? Turn off your phone, eliminate distractions, and get into the zone. You will see that when you find the right setting, you will be multiple times more productive, and happier too.