If you’re like me, most of my clients, or hey, Americans in general, you struggle with time. It feels like we’re always juggling too much at once, and there aren’t possibly enough hours in the day to squeeze everything in. In the midst of our busyness, we let certain priorities fall by the wayside. We may have a vague sense that we aren’t managing our time well, but we’re uncertain how we could steward it better.
Do you wish you could read more books, exercise, or meal prep? What about having daily prayer time or listening to more podcasts? What are the important tasks that you intend to do, truly desire to do, yet never actually accomplish?
Again, it comes back to time. It feels like there isn’t enough of the stuff.
The truth is, we are busier than ever. We live in a fast-paced society that is borderline obsessed with productivity, and we can feel trapped in the rat race. But there is hope! Let me explain.
First, I want you to find your phone. It’s probably in your hand at this very moment. Give it a good looking over. This handy little device serves so many purposes. It’s a camera, a GPS, a television screen, an entertainment console. It tells you the weather and the football score and what other movies that actor has been in. Oh yeah, and you can also call people on it!
This device in the palm of your hand can do so much for you, and yet it loves to take.
Do you know how many minutes you are investing in your phone on a daily basis as you scroll through Instagram, create clever snaps, and otherwise find yourself absorbed in your screen? I suggest you find out. Further, I suggest you consider: what is your return on that investment?
I bet if you’re honest, you have no idea on either front. Most likely, you underestimate the amount of time you spend on social media each day. Aside from killing time and offering a temporary distraction, what’s the benefit of so much screen time?
But before you decide this is a condemning blog post railing against cell phones (it sort of is) and stop reading, I want to focus on some encouraging news.
I bet you could find the time, right now, today, to accomplish something you’ve been putting off. Imagine how amazing you will feel when you start that book you’ve been meaning to read, or go for the run you’ve been putting off for weeks. If you simply switch up your time investment and move away from the screen in your hand, you can reap a feeling of satisfaction from accomplishing something.
Here are some ideas to get your media consumption in check and free up time to take care of your health, grow as a leader, prioritize relationships with family and friends, and cultivate spiritual growth.
First things first. Download the Moment App. It’s free. It’s user-friendly, and it tells you exactly many minutes you are spending on your phone each day, breaking it down by time spent per app.
Once you’ve established your baseline use, it’s time to re-assess. For instance, I learned that I typically sign in to my phone 49 times per day. Now that I know the average, I can work on reducing that. I’ve started keeping my phone face down or in a drawer for certain periods of the day. I keep it on silent. Sometimes, I use Do Not Disturb mode to keep distractions at bay.
Moment also reveals what apps you use most, and for how long. Once you’ve seen the results, you may want to consider Step 2: a social media fast.
This type of fast is simple to setup. For instance, when I need a social media detox, I have my husband change the password to my accounts and I take a month off. That’s all there is to it. I recover 15-20 valuable minutes each day that I would otherwise be spending on various social media platforms.
For you, the apps may be different. Maybe it’s Netflix or maybe it’s games. Whatever it is, ask yourself what return you are getting on that time investment? Then, consider deleting the most time-sucking apps or having a friend change your passwords for a specific period of time.
You just might decide (like I did) that a quick jog outside, preparing a home-cooked meal, or finishing the book you’ve been meaning to get through will give you far more satisfaction and joy than the time spent staring into your device.
Time is precious. Let’s use it to move towards our goals instead of advancing through another level of Candy Crush.