When it comes to time management, your use of screen time is a bit of a double-edged sword. (Think of screen time as television watching, internet browsing, social media use, videogame playing, FaceTime.)
On the one hand, there is truly a tremendous amount of garbage on your screens. It’s a massive time suck that distracts and derails you from having the life you truly want. It pulls you in, sedates you, paralyzes you, and makes it easy for you to freely give up your valuable time.
On the other hand, your screens expose you to news, information, knowledge, and entertainment. They tell you about the world around you, help you relax at the end of a day, and become a way to connect with other people through conversation about what you saw on the screen.
Yes, there’s plenty of garbage on your screens and there’s plenty of good to be said about them.
The real question to ask yourself is this: Is my use of screen time an expression of my priorities or is it undermining them?
If you declare that improving your family relationships is a priority, are you fooling yourself that sitting around the television not talking to each other is an expression of your priority?
If you want to improve your health, are you spending your exercise time in front of the screen eating cookies and ice cream?
Perhaps the topic of screen time is where we see the most potent demonstration of time management as self-management.
The time of my life that was most productive, other than now, was when my television antenna was not hooked up to the outside world. I had a VHS player and a DVD player. I watched movies, TV shows, and music instruction through these. I didn’t have a computer or internet at home.
During this period, I earned my Ph.D., learned to play guitar, wrote several books, taught at a university, ran an international magazine, had a full-time job, and traveled to several countries, among other things.
Personal growth guru, Brian Tracy, poses a thought-provoking question. He asks, “How much does your television cost you?”
Most people answer the question by saying how much they paid for their television. But Brian comes back to say that television, as a time pit that most of us use for relatively passive entertainment for hours on end every day, costs you $30-40,000 a year.
In the time you spend watching television, getting relatively little return for your time investment, you could be learning a new skill, getting a degree, reading, and so on. In other words, you could be pursuing activities that could make you an extra $30-40,000 a year. That’s how much your television is really costing you, says Brian.
With multiple ways to watch or record television shows these days, you can build your viewing time around your schedule, making sure you’re not using your prime time for mindless television.
Use your screens to your advantage; don’t throw away valuable time on hours of senseless viewing.
Get the Nerve!