Screen Time SOSApr 22, 2021
I have been spending so much time on my laptop and phone the last couple of weeks, as I am working on putting everything in place for the SuperPreneur Mastermind. I will admit, I am part technology junkie! I love how new technology supports us in our businesses, but also our every day lives.
As an entrepreneur, chances are, you also have a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone. You engage in online zoom meetings, watch TV, have an e-reader, interact with digital screens to do everything else. In fact, you probably regard as an unavoidable fact of modern life the fact that screen-based interactions are necessary.
But for too many of us, out of our obsession for improving productivity and doing more every day, and doing things "on the go", we may be losing track of how much time we spend staring at screens.
How long have you spent staring at digital screens on any given day?
In fact, you probably look at screens of various sizes - related to different things, most of every day... According to some studies, the average screen time for people is 10 - 18 hours per day! That is between your mobile phone, your computer, TV, e-readers etc. The newest iOS update on your smartphone will tell you exactly your screen time hours and what apps you spent the most time on! There are many apps you can download to help you track your screen time on android also!
It is obvious that the impact of this is huge on our health on so many levels! Physically, Emotionally, Mentally, Socially etc. Doctors are getting more and more complaints about things like dry eyes from staring at screens all day, text-neck (yes that is actually a thing!) etc. Jim Kwik talks about digital dementia - how we do not bother to retain any information anymore as we all carry an external hard drive in our hands. No need even to remember your best friend's mobile number, or to retain dates, facts train schedules or whatever it is that we need on a daily basis! Just one tap and Mr Googs tells us exactly what we need to know...
I would not like to harp on and on about the impact all our screentime is having on us - but the more we are aware of it, the more we might realise how our screentime is affecting us personally.
So how can you as an entrepreneur balance screen time and productivity? A lot of us rely on screens to do our work - and Yes! the irony of me sending this message to you on a screen is not lost on me!
I am always looking for ways to be more productive, but also curtail my screen time to a minimum per day and I would love to share some of these with you:
1) Use your screen time wisely
First, make sure you’re using your screen time wisely. When you go to use a digital screen, make sure you’re employing it to accomplish a goal, rather than wasting time or entertaining yourself between tasks.
2) Take Eye breaks
Have you heard of the 20-20-20 rule?
For every 20 minutes you spend staring at a screen, take a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away to give your eyes a break. Even the busiest entrepreneurs can spare 20 seconds now and then. In addition, make sure you take a few longer brain breaks throughout the day. When I have a lot of focused time - I work intently with no distractions for 40-minutes and take a 10-minute break.
3) Find alternatives
Instead of relying solely on the digital screen, find alternative ways to engage with people. Could you conduct a phone call instead of a chat session? Might you listen to an audiobook instead of reading the digital version? Or how about actually meeting someone for coffee and having a real conversation without pulling out your phone. Use the timer on your phone if you have to go by a certain time and put your phone away and off the table.
4) Rely on written notes and planners
Consider taking notes and keeping a calendar using pen and paper, instead of a digital device. Paper and pen will spare your eyes, and research shows that writing things down in a tangible format can improve both understanding and recall. You know that I am a huge promoter of pen-to-paper and using daily planners. If you are afraid that you might lose a paper note or diary, then snap a pic of it and save it in your cloud storage.
5) Move your body more
Have you ever had a "walking meeting"? Where you and your participants discuss things while you walk around the city, or even just the building. This will make you more active, and reduce the temptation to look at your devices during meetings. I am blessed to live near Curraghchase Forest Park, and I would often go for a walk there, if I need to discuss something, have to make a decision on a matter or sometimes just need to tease out an issue or problem that has popped up. No digital devices needed, just fresh air and the lovely presence of the tree giants.
No matter how much you enjoy using your electronic gadgets or how committed you are to accomplishing your goals and deadlines, there’s no excuse for spending as much time as we do on our digital devices. It is up to us to prevent our minds and bodies from deteriorating by taking regular breaks that help us to stay connected to our bodies, health, being grounded and happier.