To make a difference, not forgotten
A moment I must give.
A splendid moment, so strong and real
That moment won't blend in.
Like a smile that happens in a flash,
But the memory, it lives on.
Or a touch, or a word, or a wink so small,
No sound is ever heard.
But the memory, it lives on.
Yes, the memory, it lives on.
I didn't record a podcast, publish a blog, or post anything on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for two weeks.
That might not sound like a big deal to you, but on average, I was spending seventeen hours per week online. There were weeks, I was spending 25 hours a week. Friend, that’s a part-time job (which pays nothing).
In a month, we’re talking about somewhere between 68 and 100 hours of my life spend on the internet, thinking I could (or should) save the world. At best, 816 hours a year. At worst? 1,200.
According to a 2018 Nielsen study, "American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media…and 62% of that time is attributed to app/web browsing on smartphones."
Let’s take email and television out of the equation. In the last quarter of 2018, the average person spent 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media and messaging platforms.
And no, it isn’t just the teenagers.
I’m not against the internet or social media. I’ve met some of my dearest friends through Facebook and Twitter. But after spending time away, I’m noticing that the amount of time I was spending online wasn’t healthy or beneficial for me.
If you were forced to spend one 71 minutes a day without a screen, what would you do with the free time?
It’s half the time the average person spends on social media in a day. So you can still have 71 minutes a day for browsing Pinterest or posting on Instagram or watching those high-speed cooking videos on Facebook.
Here’s how I’ve spent my 71 minutes lately:
Admiring a butterfly on the branch of a newly budded dogwood tree
Teaching Sweet Caroline to slow down and be quiet enough to spot a white crane in the swamp near our home.
Listening to Lindsey describe what she hopes Heaven will be like
Reading The Chosen
Taking pictures with an actual camera
Writing with pen and paper
Enjoying a decaf Americano with my buddy, Arthur
Reading one of my favorite childhood stories to Ben
Reading Sing, Unburied, Sing
Talking to the fat little red bird that always greets me on my morning jog
In short, I’m transitioning from mindless to mindful. Rather than mind-numbing scrolling, I’m converting my minutes into moments. The time away from all the busyness has been more of a blessing than I could imagine - I’m finding myself again. I’d love for you to join me.
So let me ask you 3 self-reflection questions:
How do you use your free time?
Where do you spend the majority of your time online?
What would you do with an extra 71 minutes per day?
Email me back (or leave a comment below) and let me know what you think about being more intentional with our time. I love hearing from you.
Moments are all we’ve got,
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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