For almost two years now I have been making a conscious effort to slow down and simplify my life. And while I had made some significant changes and am certainly a lot less busy than I once was, I still didn’t feel like I had as much free time as I had hoped. i decided to take a closer look at what exactly I was doing with my time. I had reduced my work hours and was now working part time and had cut down on commitments, and yet the sense of always rushing hadn’t quite abated. By chance I had read an article about managing time online for those who were addicted to their screens. Not thinking for a minute that I had an issue that would constitute addiction I at first dismissed most of the advice. But over the next week it was playing on my mind. I was spending a lot of time looking at my phone. I went back to the article and decided to download one of the suggested apps that would give me an idea of the amount of time I was using my phone each day. Within a couple of days I realised that I did indeed have a problem.
Embarrassingly, I was spending an average of two hours each day looking at my phone. Most of this was checking my social media feeds and posting new photos or messages on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. I was shocked. Two hours each day was 14 hours a week. I sat and wrote a list of the things I would like to do but that I felt I didn’t have time for. I then wrote down how much time I’d like to spend on each one of them and it added up to less than 14 hours. The next question was how to break my screen habit so I could begin enjoying the things that I really wanted to be doing. To cut a rather long story short, I made some decisions that helped me to spend a lot more time offline. I had to let some things go, reduce the amount I posted online and break some bad habits. The results have been worth it though. I managed to read about fifteen books in under three months, something I could only have dreamed of earlier in the year. I am more discerning about how I spend time online and am avoiding a lot of repetition and mindless scrolling. And best of all, I’m getting more sleep.
If you are serious about slowing down and freeing up time for the things that really matter, I would definitely advise an audit of your online life. It’s amazing the sense of freedom that comes with creating some space in your life for things that matter, or even for simply doing nothing at all.
For more tips and inspiration, check out It’s Time to Log Off . Also, this article at Becoming Minimalist might provide some more inspiration. I have used the AntiSocial App available for Android to help me to unplug.