“But Hayden, you make online content for a living! You’ve got to know what’s poppin’. Plus you get work through Instagram, right?”
Actually, when I sat down and thought about it, the last time I landed a client directly through Instagram was in January 2019. And even then, it was a small, micro-budget music video.
Is this really what I’m hanging around for?
So, here we are in 2020, amidst a global pandemic that’s pretty much forced all of my clients to close their doors for the foreseeable future. For many, this is a time to take a step back and wait for the companies they work for to re-open.
For others, this is a time for hustle.
With a pretty empty calendar and regular income out of the picture, I’m left to divert my attention elsewhere. And after a week in lockdown, I’m already feeling the creative itch…but I’m struggling to actually ‘get shit done’.
“How, with all of this free time am I not being as productive as I want to be?”
I wonder to myself while mindlessly scrolling through Twitter at a pace that barely gives me enough time to even read the tweets. Ah, I see what’s happening here.
Those of you with an iPhone will be familiar with the ‘Screen Time’ feature. I’ve been aware of it since owning my phone, but always resist looking.
I’d read that the average screen time for adults in 2019 was When I see stats like that I always feel like a mere observer, as if facts like that couldn’t possibly apply to me…could they? 3 hours and 15 minutes. A bitter pill to swallow
Okay, let’s have a look then, you’ve twisted my arm. Deep breaths Hayden, deep breaths.
Bang, there we go. Just look at that juicy number right there.
5h 44m. Per DAY. That’s the screen time of champions, absolutely biblical.
Seeing this hit me like a sucker-punch to the nipple… How the heck has I managed this? To put this into perspective, that’s a day and a half a week. A freaking day and a half on my phone.
To give this figure more context, we sleep for around 50–60 hours per week. So on paper,
I’m on my phone nearly as much as I’m asleep! To have a realization such as this is both the worst and best feeling. Yes, it’s sad to see, but the acknowledgment is the first step towards sorting this crap out. Let’s boogie…
Seeing all my apps have a little jiggle as I hovered my finger over their ‘uninstall’ buttons created a god complex I never thought I’d experience.
“Which one of you gets to go next?”
Man, what have I become? Day zero and I’m already going mental. Nonetheless, I smash those ‘x’ buttons like shooting ducks in a barrel.
First to go; Twitter. Then, Facebook (that one really felt good). Out with TikTok and Reddit. Finally, I log out of my personal Instagram. I’d delete the app entirely but I manage a few business accounts.
Nonetheless, those accounts are useful to spend time on (until, of course, the behemoth of TikTok completely wipes out Instagram for good, but that’s a worry for another day).
There will be a lot of people on the same boat in terms of looking at the Screen Time feature. It’s easy to avoid but it’s crucial that as a generation that’s plagued with anxiety and depression that we keep track of it more.
Try to think of it as the scales during a diet. It feels good to see the numbers drop, it’s a nice boost in confidence – serotonin – and overall motivation that I think we could all do within this current climate. The difference is that we should focus on what we can gain instead of what we lose.
One week after,
I’ve cut my phone usage down 40%. I still wasn’t satisfied with how much time I was staring at that screen, so I tried another week, and as of 13:52 today (Sunday, June 14th), I’ve managed to gain 4hrs per day.
4hrs x 7 days… That’s a nice 28hrs of extra time I’ve got per week to do whatever the f*ck I want with.
I know that a lot of people’s screen time won’t be as high as mine was to start with, but I encourage you to try and cut out the mindless scrolling. Besides the obvious gain in free time, your eyes and brain will thank you, with less tiny screens to squint at,
your physical health can improve dramatically. What now?
The question I’m now faced with is how I spend this extra day.
This week, with less time on my phone, I prioritised reading, writing, and developing my video production business.
Reading for even a few minutes when I wake up rather than picking up my phone has been a game-changer. Leaving my phone across the room while I work reduces the urge to distract myself from the task at hand. The reality that I don’t need to respond to messages immediately is beyond freeing, and overall, the sensation of seeing how low I can make the number on my screen time is satisfying, to say the least.
Also, I’ve managed to start this blog, so that’s a thing.
Time is a beautiful thing. Will you reminisce about the moments you spent watching other people’s lives on a small screen? Or will you be glad you kept your eyes up?
Sorry to get deep. Anyway, go wash your hands.