Habits | Lifestyle | Productivity

The Dreaded Screen Time Audit

I watched a housefly bouncing about on a pane of glass, attracted to the light but unable to find a way through. We aren’t very different in this respect, are we? So focused on the bright light that we don’t see the opportunities around us. Noses pressed to screens of all shapes and sizes, and what have we to show for it?

The fly got me thinking about my own tendency to bounce against a pane of glass. I scanned my screen time usage to see what the real story was. I don’t believe I stare at my phone all day (in fact I practice active avoidance whenever possible), but still I’m averaging five hours per day staring at my phone. Say what? But its true: 5h 10m per day. Ugh. Doesn’t seem possible! But let’s dive deeper, where was the time used?

WordPress, Duolingo, Waze, Mail, Kindle and Podcasts are generally productive uses of my screen time. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Safari and YouTube are generally not productive uses of my screen time. I tend to write in short bursts on the iPhone, and longer writing is done on the Mac, so there’s productivity time missing from the equation. Likewise, I tend to read more on an old iPad instead of the phone, so there’s time missing there too. Podcasts, Music, Waze are all multitasking apps and generally aren’t “counted” as nose pressed to the screen apps. But there’s clearly a trend towards more social media happening right now, and that needs to be sharply reduced.

Like the housefly, I’m bouncing against the bright glass surface and not finding another way out. Who wants to live like a housefly anyway? Not me, thank you. So I need to wean myself off again. The biggest culprit is Twitter, which has become my default news feed. There are valid reasons to be on social media in this time we live in. But what am I really getting out of it? Validation of viewpoints I already have? On my deathbed I won’t say I wish I’d spent more time on Twitter, but I might regret not spending more time outside, face-to-face with the world and the people in it. At least the ones who aren’t pressing their own noses into a screen. What does your screen time look like? If it’s more than you’d like meet me outside – we’ll take a walk and talk. No phones required.

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