At my recent eye appointment, the receptionist asked me, ‘How many hours in a day are looking at a screen; computer, tablet, television or phone?’
I replied half-jokingly, ‘All of them.’
It was, of course a joke, a quick-witted response to a seemingly stupid question. But when I thought back on my day, week and month, my answer wasn’t that far off. As a ‘marketing technologist’ of-sorts, I spend the majority of my work day staring at my laptop screen (as many professionals do these days). When I’m not doing that, I ‘m checking my phone for any news updates, texts, or personal e-mails. After 8 hours of that cycle, I come home to ‘unwind.’ I take Pabs for his afternoon walk (usually an hour or so) and then I dig in to my ‘daily updates.’ These updates consist of subscribed YouTube content, Reddit posts, Linked In posts, news, etc (aka more ‘screen-time’). I usually do this for around 2 hours, then it’s off to cook dinner. While things are cooking I return to my screens, phone or iPad, to consume more content. I eat, take Pabs for another walk (30 mins), and then it’s time to start getting ready for bed. I read for 1 hour, but quickly find myself back in front of a screen to soak up any new content that had come through while I was away (for that 1.5 hours).
It’s time for a change. I cannot limit the amount of time I am staring at a screen while working, but I can make a conscious effort to eliminate as much screen time at home as possible. Right now, I am spending roughly 4 hours consuming content through a screen when home. I would like to cut this in half. In order to do so I will need to prioritize what I actually want to consume. Do all my YouTube subscriptions make sense? Do I really need to watch 3 Ted Talks per night? Surely they aren’t going anywhere. What personal value is gained by spiraling into a rabbit hole of ‘ultimate fail’ videos? None. Step one will be clearing out my subscriptions, bookmarks, and prioritizing my blogs. Make sure to check back for Unplugging Part 2: Minimizing My Content.