Oh no, is that the time?! Where’d all the time go?! Is it almost christmas, so soon?! Sounds familiar? Seems the older I get, the quicker time flys. Is that the same with you? Most probably, you’ve found yourself wasting away time and didn’t realise it till it was almost or too late…
Boredom or purposeless can drive you to your phone or laptop.
One of the most time wasting times I ever spent, (admittedly it was because in that season of my life, I felt my life wasn’t purposeful) where I can’t even register how many days or months I spent on, was browsing online or watching mindless movies!!!
Being in front of a screen is too easy.
Being in front of a screen, because I had too much time on my hands, was my #1 time waster. And I got addicted – you know that feeling like ‘this sure feels good’ without any thought of consequences, kind of addicted.
For me, my feel good time waster (and money waster) was online shopping. I’d go on binges, shopping my little heart (and wallet) out. I’d buy clothes that were trendy yet cheap but didn’t end up fitting me, only to clog up my closet.
Easy access and endless choices – 2 big magnets to keep you online.
The second time wasters (in equal second place) was google and youtube, either via my smartphone or chromebook (yes I love my handy little chromebook). I just loved the youtube videos, fashion blogs, movies, educational stuff…you name it, I just loved watchin’ and readin’.
What a total waste of precious time.
During all this wasted time, which I could have invested into people, I felt unmotivated and unfulfilled. Fortunately, I made a shift in my heart, when I was reminded that my life purpose was to invest in people, not just myself.
I cut down my online browsing gradually and now, I help and invest in people, and write a lot more, instead of being online unpurposefully.
Entertainment can become a source of comfort, a hiding place, an escape.
Since being on social media and having an online presence for so many people has become their #1 priority, there’s been so much time that’s wasted. I see my children and other young people in front of a screen for most of the day, on most weekends when they’re not in school and I get worried for them.
Your smart brain can go on sleepy or auto-pilot, holiday mode.
All their potential and energy is spent on mostly entertainment feel good music or shows…we need a replacement or our brains will go into auto-pilot mode, thinking it’s on holiday. ‘Garbage in = Garbage out’ – that’s true too.
Apparently, there are apps for tracking how much time you spend on a screen/online. Let’s not mention the eye sight, posture, fitness problems, and sleep problems that come with too much screen time.
Snap out of it! Take time out to talk, engage, connect with others in person.
It’s just too easy to text or message someone. It’s much harder to make the effort and time to physically see someone.
Taking time out to talk to a friend, family member or even a neighbour can help your brain snap out of auto-pilot mode. Engaging in meaningful conversation, cos you need to focus on the other person does wonders for your brain! You may even get inspired with new ideas, see another perspective and use your time more usefully.
There’s got to be a shift in our own heart first, then we need to seek a replacement. Other things you can do are: help out a friend, serve in church, your community, do some sort of sports, hikes, coffees with friends, dinner parties, outings? Doing something with others helps you feel more purposeful.
You have a greater purpose – there’s people waiting for you!
Online shopping, youtube or google are not time wasters – its only when we’re on it too much and don’t have a purpose or meaning to be on our screens, is when it become a problem. You ain’t got no time for wasting, not when there’s people waiting for you to help, influence and change!
6 signs that you’re online too much:
1. You can’t put your phone down
This is how addictive behaviour is – you can’t break free from what you get a high and comfort from – your phone or laptop!
It’s like your phone is attached to your hand, as if it’s an extension of your arm.
When someone’s talking to you, you just keep texting or looking at your screen, while you occasionally nod, saying yes or no.
You even take your phone into the toilet.
You sleep with your phone next to you. It’s the first thing you get into in the morning and the last thing you look into at night.
You panic when your phone is missing from your pocket or hand for 1 minute.
2. You have a short concentration span
Maybe because of browsing, surfing, clicking in and out of different pages, having many tabs opened up at the same time, your brain has learnt to focus on a certain thing then switch to the next new thing, in short spurts.
You click off a site, if it’s not instantly loading.
You’re always saying ‘what did you say again, sorry I missed that’? Because you switch off after a couple of minutes (if that!)
While someone’s talking, you’re day dreaming or thinking of something else.
You can’t wait for that person to finish talking so you can go or say your thing.
3. You get impatient with people
You get impatient with people who ‘ramble on’ and take more than 2 minutes explaining something or talks in too much detail, you just want them to finish and go!
You don’t wait for people to finish their sentences, you just want to them to get to the point.
You’d rather do the talking, but when it comes to listening, you still want to do the talking.
Other people tell you that you’re grumpy or impatient with them.
4. You feel fidgety or bored when you’re not on your phone or laptop.
When you’re having your ‘family dinner’ where you can’t use your phone, you can’t wait to get back on your phone, straight after dinner. You feel fidgety when the dinner is too long.
When there’s no wifi/internet connection, you can’t think of anything else to do.
When you’re in social setting, rather than talk to someone, you pull out your phone.
You can’t wait to get home, to get some ‘alone time’, just so you can browse happily without interruptions.
5. You’re constantly checking your social media updates and emails
You’re constantly checking up on the latest posts, your numbers of likes and shares.
Your keep re-reading your posts or other people’s just to see how many comments, like or shares you got compared to other people’s.
You’ve always got your notifications on, and click on them immediately.
There’s tons of unopened emails because you’ve oversubscribed for too many freebies and you didn’t want to miss any updates.
6. You get bored when being with or listening to people
You’re more comfortable in front of your screen than with people, because at least you can lie down, click in and out of sites and do what’s comfortable for you than watching what you say and how you act infront of another person!
It seems to you no-one makes any stimulating, funny or smart conversations. You’d rather watch something on youtube.
Even when someone messages you, you just react with an emoji rather than think of what to say back thoughtfully to them.
You hardly talk to your spouse or your kids or make time for them because your find your screen more comforting.
So those are the 6 signs to check and ask yourself about if you’re not aware of them already. Was that helpful?
Now what can you do about this?
6 things you can do, to be less on your phone:
Don’t let your screen time rob you of meaningful time with your family, friends or people you love. Once the time has gone, it’s not coming back. See my post here on Why you should spend more money to save time for people, to see why quality time with others is super important.
Here are some quick tips on how to break out of too much screen time – you simply decide and replace.
1. Go and see people.
- Go out and see people – be engaged, have fun connecting. Turn your phone off while you are with them, or leave it in the car.
2. Put away your phone.
- Put or lock away your phone or laptop intentionally for a limited fixed time.
3. Get fresh air, take in new scenery.
- Get fresh air, exercise, go for a walk, while you leave your phone at home.
4. Put your phone in the room next door before you sleep.
At night, before you sleep, put your phone next door, so you’re not tempted to ‘look’ at your phone. Get another alarm clock if you need to.
5. Commit to a fixed time to spend with your spouse or kids
Spend fixed time with your spouse of kids, don’t place your phone or laptop where you can reach it. Play board games or something that doesn’t require googling or a phone.
6. Be determined to be a good listener
That means, putting down your phone, putting it on silent, or away from you, when you’re listening to the other person. Focus on them and what they’re saying. Relay back, respond wholeheartedly.
So there you go. Be intentional with your actions. Are you spending most of your time on your own, in front of a screen? Would you like to find ways to cut down on this? Why or why not?