The phrase ‘screen time’ is in the Oxford dictionary:
Screen time: noun
: the time allotted to or occupied by a particular subject, actor, etc., on film or television: these characters deserve more screen time
: time spent using a device such as a computer, television, or games console.
The second definition as a concept has entire pages dedicated to it on the National Institutes of Health and Mayo Clinic websites. The cautions and tips there focus on creating and maintaining healthy habits for children; I guess adults are expendable, or beyond help.
Since I write for a living, I spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen. My prior job preparing marketing materials for a commercial real estate brokerage was also computer-heavy, so it’s probably accurate to say that in the last ten years I’ve spent the better part of my weekdays staring at a screen.
Taking into account vacations and an 8 hour workday, my rough estimate is about 19,600 hours in front of a computer screen.
Then add in at-home computer use:
- Time spent emailing
- Watching YouTube
- Looking up movie times and then watching trailers
- Online banking
- Online shopping (or, online shopping cart-filling)
- Online news reading…
Multiply that by the existence of a handheld device that now allows all of this to be done anywhere, anytime.
Then there’s that other screen: Television
Guilty. Though I now limit myself to “committing” to only 1 or 2 shows per season, I am fully guilty of turning on the idiot box while I’m cooking, eating breakfast and lunch, and to generally decompress with the news/late shows/whatever is on PBS. [Disclaimer: I grew up in the 70s and 80s, when cable TV began its reign and when the medium in general enjoyed little competition for glazed over eyeballs.]
That is a lot of screen time. So, around Labor Day, I made a decision to blog every other week instead of every week, as I had been doing for nearly three years.
I must admit – I forgot how nice a free Sunday afternoon can be. There’s walks, cooking huge Sunday dinners, movies, going out places…!
A few weeks ago I blogged about how I’ve been fortunate to have steady work this year. Great for the career, but really increases the demand on eyes, back, and hands (and psyche). I needed to find a way to take a meaningful weekly break from the screen.
The obvious, but hardest, choice was less blog posts. Obvious because it isn’t paying work. Hardest for two reasons:
Sentimental. Blogging is what launched my journey almost three years ago. It was the way I realized what I was supposed to do with my life and the way I began to build a portfolio until I could build my real portfolio. I found my voice, then found my way.
Practical. Regular blogging is what keeps my website alive on Google’s radar. Post regularly and search engines see you. Simple as that. Plus, for real eyes and not Google-y eyes, recent posts signal that I am active and real. It is an answer to “what have you done lately” when ‘lately’ hasn’t produced final projects ready for sharing. The bottom line: you have to do something to be seen.
So if you have noticed that you are receiving less frequent Sudden Write Turn posts in your inbox, this is why.
If you haven’t noticed – good for you for limiting your screen time.