The Shocking Truth About My Screen Time

Mobile screen

Can you believe I lost a whole quarter of the year to my smartphone screen?! Sounds absurd? But it’s true. 

Our lives are increasingly dominated by digital displays, and I thought it was time I take a closer look at just how much time I’m spending—and often wasting—in front of screens. 

For all of us, It generally starts innocently enough. A few minutes Tiktok, a few minutes Instagram. Suddenly, those minutes morphed into hours, days, months. 

The Precious Hours

To be precise, from January 1 to June 30, I clocked in 1132 hours. And from July 1 to December 31 of the same year, I wasn’t much better with 1033 hours. That’s 2164 hours in a year. Two thousand, one hundred sixty-four hours! 

Break it down, and you’ll find I spent nearly 90 days—an entire quarter of the year—staring at my phone. 

Breakdown of the ‘quarter-long’ screen-time 

Of those 2164 hours, a staggering 1379 hours were spent on social media and communication apps, with Telegram, Facebook, and Messenger topping the chart. That’s 63.7% of my total screen time. 

Then there’s YouTube. I spent 177 hours watching videos. That’s 8.2% of my total screen time. 

Now it feels almost like I was a dedicated worker in the attention economy, fueling the profits of big tech with every swipe, tap, and like. 

Wasted Potential 

Thinking about it, I ask myself: What could I have done with those 2164 hours instead? 

For instance, it takes about 600 hours to learn a new language to a conversational level according to the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State. With my screen time, I could have become fluent in at least three Category I languages. Imagine being able to travel the world and converse effortlessly in Dutch, French, and Spanish. Cool, isn’t it? 

The potential is extraordinary, and all it takes is shifting your focus away from mindless screen time. 

Well, it is easier said than done. 

Taking Back Control 

So, what now? How do you reclaim your time and your lives from digital dominance? Here are some unorthodox yet effective tips that you could try: 

  • Digital detox: Consider a complete break from screens for a weekend. See what life looks like without constant digital distractions. Rediscover the joy of analog activities and genuine human interaction. 
  • Mindful usage: Practically speaking, it’s not possible for many to keep their smartphones away. But you could use apps to set daily limits on your usage. When the time’s up, the app will notify you. Be sure to respect the boundaries you set. 
  • Analog activities: Engage in hobbies that don’t involve screens—painting, cooking, gardening, or playing an instrument. Engage your senses in the real world. 
  • No-screen zones: Designate areas in your home as no-screen zones. These zones help prioritize in-person interactions. 
  • Ditch the screens: Consider using pen and paper for note-taking and brainstorming instead of a smartphone or a laptop. Go old school whenever you can. 
  • Go greyscale: Turn on grayscale mode to make your phone’s display less attractive. This will help you stay off it. 

Final Words 

It’s not about completely eliminating screens from our lives but about finding a healthy balance. Start by setting small goals and gradually increasing your screen-free activities. 

Let’s explore the world, reconnect with loved ones, and rediscover the beauty of real-life experiences. 

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