Take The Challenge and Get More Done With Less Screen Time

Transient

Thursday nights episode of Parks & Recreation got me thinking, about how much time I spend staring at screens.  For those of you not watching the fine folks of Pawnee, Indiana last Thursday you missed Tom getting into a accident and finding himself in the hot seat, since he was tweeting while driving.  The judge sentenced him to 72 hours with no screens.  Let the punishment fit the crime.  All weekend I was thinking about how much time I spend looking at screens.  Screens are everywhere now, your phone, car, even your kitchen appliances have gotten in on the act. 

So today I enlisted my best friend to help me gather up all the screens we have in the house.  Turns out we have a disgusting amount of screens. If you don’t believe me, check out the picture to the left.  The sad thing is, you can’t even see the desktop computers, Tv’s and PSP that we couldn’t find.  Not to mention the cars, and appliances. Grand total there are about 28 screens.Gross, right?  28 screens two people.  How do you end up with this many iPhones?  Well it’s simple, you set out to keep your old iPhone and use it as an iPod Touch and before you know it, they are stacking up like cord wood.

Lately I’ve been pretty distracted and overwhelmed.  This combination has lead to me not getting nearly as much done each day as I used to.  While I don’t think screens are fully to blame, they are part of the problem.  So, this past weekend I took a little break from screens.  I must admit, I did watch a horror movie on Friday night  (come on it’s Halloween, I have to).  But I managed to keep my phone, tablet, and computers at bay.  I did look at them once in the morning and again in the evening, but only for a few minutes.  That break was just the thing I needed.  The house was quieter without the annoying buzz of vibrating phones and clicking on keyboards.  I managed to rest, read a few books and knock out a massive to do list.  By Sunday night I was so relaxed that once when my head hit the pillow I went right to sleep. That never happens to me.  I takes me a while to fully relax enough to go to sleep. 

While this was great for a weekend, I know this isn’t something I can really do during the week.  Like most people I work on a computer, I need to take calls on my phone, return e-mails and stay on top of things.  So, instead of letting the screens take over, I’m going to try and find a balance.  

This afternoon when I was back in my bad habit of clicking down the rabbit hole I stumbled across a few articles on  Lifehacker “Try This “Recipe” to Increase Productivity Over the Next Week”, and “How Being Unreachable Makes Me More Productive”.  They got me thinking about how once the screens weren’t a dominate force in my day, I took time to other stuff that every adult should be doing, like eating a good breakfast. I’m not going to lie, I skip breakfast all the time.  

Both articles came a with pretty long lists of things to do.  So I've decided to challenge myself to do at least 10, some of these can be found in the articles I mention and a few are problem areas I know I have.   So starting tomorrow I’m going to be doing the following:

  • No screens 2 hours before bed.
  • No phone first thing in the AM.
  • No news or radio first thing, either.
  • Don't Read Unsolicited Email.
  • Use Privacy Mode to Limit Callers.
  • Set Timer For Reading Blogs (20 Min)
  • Don't Answer The Phone, Let it Go To Voicemail.
  • Only Read the Important Email.
  • Practice the Right to Decline.
  • Eat Breakfast.
  • Unsubscribe from Shopping E-mails.
  • Turn Off Unnecessary Notifications.
  • No Snooze Button.
  • No Coffee after 2 p.m.
  • Take Short 10 Minute Breaks and Walk around.

I’m starting off trying 10 items on the list above, if you don’t think you can do 10 try 5, or even just 1.  Maybe none of the items on the list are issues for you, if so come up with your own list and start the challenge.  Throughout the next week I will post about how I’m surviving the challenge and tips and hints to help get you through.  I’m pretty sure the No screens after 9pm is going to be a tough one for me, but it’s the one I want to do the most.  Good Luck! 

Series:

10 Step Program to Stop Running Late
Do More With Less Screen Time - Morning Routine
Do More WIth Less Screen Time

Sources:

How Being Unreachable Makes Me More Productive | Life Hacker

Try This “Recipe” to Increase Productivity Over the Next Week | Life Hacker

How Being Unreachable Makes Me

More Productive | Time Management Ninja

How to Get More Done—The Works | Chris Brogan