Too Much Media

I’m stopping in on my blog today from the library after work at my new full time job, which I started two weeks ago. I’ve been trying to think of ways to be more productive and I’m trying out going to the library for an hour or two after work. I tend to be pretty tired and not all that excited about working more when I get home, so this week, I’m going somewhere else before home instead of working at my desk in my room.

We’ll see how it goes, because I’m hungry for dinner.

I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity these past few months. Like I’ve mentioned a bunch of times, I left my job in July of last year and  have been working on a bunch of creative projects since then. I found that some weeks I got a lot done, and some weeks I wasn’t exactly sure what I spent my time doing. I decided to pay more attention.

At the end of January, I was pretty sure that I had a problem. I decided to download this app called Space, which tracks how long you’re on your phone each day. When I first downloaded the app I just used my phone as I normally did so that I could see how much time I was spending on it, and the results were honestly shocking. I did not think I was addicted to my phone. I thought that I could use my phone less, sure, but I never thought that I was one of those people who were glued to their phone all day long.

I was, most definitely, incorrect. In the first few days of using the app I found out that I was looking at my phone for over three hours every single day. And, the truth was, I was very aware of the fact that I was tracking my phone time and probably made a subconscious effort to use my phone less than I would have normally.

I was kind of shocked, and definitely embarrassed. I decided to give myself a challenge in February — cut down on my mindless use of the Internet. I put a limit on my phone use — 90 minutes or less a day. That would cut the time I was on my phone in half. And, I also gave myself a Facebook newsfeed scrolling ban. Years ago, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone, so there was no risk of me going on and needlessly scrolling there. But I kept Facebook around mostly for the messenger feature, and I found myself getting back into bad habits and scrolling through the newsfeed every time I didn’t want to do work on my computer.

So, I began February determined to cut back on phone and social media time. It was strange the first few days. I was so much more aware of how often I pulled my phone out to fill empty minutes in my life. I had to remind myself to put it down and pull out my book instead  more times than I could count.

I definitely sunk back into bad habits once or twice, but the great thing about Space is that you can set it to pop up if you unlock your phone too many times in a row or if you use your phone for more than ten minutes at a time. Those reminders kept me accountable and I ended up reaching my goals for the month. I successfully kept my phone time to under 90 minutes every day, and most days it was actually under 70.

In case you were wondering whether or not cutting back on phone and social media time helped my productivity, it most definitely did. In February I finally finished a full draft of my novel, went to six job interviews, got a full time job, and posted here on my blog every week. There is no question that I was able to get more done simply by putting my phone down.

Now, in March, because of my little Instagram project, I’ve been spending just a bit more time on my phone. Eventually, though, I’d really like to cut back yet again, and get down to using my phone for no more than one hour per day.

I have so many things going on right now. I am working 40 hours a week, and on top of that, I am still trying to grow my Etsy store, write once or twice a week on this blog, work on my novel, and be active on Instagram. I’m tired, but I’m so motivated to do these things that I can’t really enjoy relaxing when I try to. I am so excited about every project I have, and it feels so good to spend so much time working on things that I love.

Also, it’s nice to have a paycheck again.

I hope that you’re having a productive week. Thanks for stopping by.