How to Waste Your Time Better

What does it mean when the first thing we all do every morning is grab for our phone?

Ironically enough, the first article I read this morning after grabbing my phone two milliseconds after I woke up was about exactly that: 3 Astuces pour Mieux Perdre Son Temps, or in English, 3 Tips to Better Waste Your Time.

It read:

Oui, nos vies sont de plus en plus remplies. Mais c’est surtout parce que les écrans y prennent de plus en plus de place.

or in English,

Yeah, our lives are more and more full. But it’s mainly because screens are taking up more and more of our space.

And then further into the article, there was a really powerful video that got my a$$ out of bed real quick. It’s a video of a man walking down a New York City street, passing everyone glued to their phones. You never know someone’s story – maybe each person on the street was texting their mom or studying for an important exam. Sure. More often than not though, we’re on our phones doing something without purpose. He then spits some poetry – phrases like “I don’t care if that panda bear is dancing, or maybe, haha, with a hula hoop. Ok, this is fantastic. I have to share this with my ten friends and ten thousand strangers.” You see how he gets lost in his phone, but then realizes and reminds himself to “Use technology to enhance your life outside of your device.”

So back to the question. What does it mean when the first thing we all do every morning is grab our phone? On one hand (literally), it means we live a life of convenience – convenience in the sense that I can fall asleep watching Netflix on my phone, while it’s charging, and wake up to an app that’s sole purpose is to wake me up. I’m using technology to my personal benefit – what it was created for in the first place. That’s pretty nice.

But to be real, it’s never just that. Just like it’s highly unlikely every person on a New York City street is texting their mom or studying for an important exam. Here I was in bed, ready to tappedy-tap-tap and scroll like my life depended on it, as if I didn’t have a life to be living. It’s like we get lost in our own phones, tapping from app to app, and reading feeds and timelines and stories to feel like we’re all caught up. All caught up to what? The last time we tapped from app to app, and read all the feeds and timelines and stories…eight hours ago before we went to bed?

The question in this blog should really be: How much of our “phone time” is time wasted? If you can look at your phone and honestly ask yourself “Is this doing anything for me?” then you’ll have your answer. Candy Crush is doing nothing for you. Cute puppy videos are doing nothing for you. Checking the weather app when you live in Los Angeles where the weather is exactly the same e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y is doing nothing for you.

How about we review ways to use technology to our benefit: documenting the precious moments of your life, discovering new artists on Spotify, locating the nearest coffee shop, connecting with your friends and family, paying bills, reading compelling articles, etc.

So much of our lives are through screens, and even more when your full-time job is through a screen. When I look at photos of Jo and I traveling and it looks like we’re really living, it’s cuz we are. We use our phones to capture as much as we see fit, but you have to know when it’s necessary to have your phone out and when it’s not. I challenge you to figure out that difference right now.

So much of  “phone time” is meaningless.

But only if you let it be that way.

[Also read: Stop Scrolling, Start Doing]

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