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Are You a Victim of Screen Sucking?

March 4, 2014
Are You a Victim of Screen-Sucking blog post- A picture of a person using a laptop and smartphone

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Have you ever experienced this? You sit down at the computer to quickly check your e-mail or Facebook and the next thing you know hours have passed. And you simply have no idea where that time went. If you’ve ever experienced this, then you are a victim of screen-sucking.

The term “screen sucking” was coined by Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of the book “CrazyBusy: Overworked, Overbooked and About to Snap!”.  Hallowell defines it as “Wasting time engaging with any screen – for instance, computer, video game, television, and BlackBerry”. And anyone with a computer, television, tablet, video game, or smartphone has experienced the screen-sucking phenomenon at some point in time. The sad part is that many people are losing precious, productive time in front of their computers by mindlessly browsing. They spend far too much time on social media or even playing games.

The result of wasting all of the extra time is that we suddenly find ourselves with far less time to accomplish the things that need to get done throughout the day. This leads us to be stressed out, frazzled and overwhelmed. Screen-sucking not only causes us stress. It also affects our relationships and our ability to connect as humans. Have you ever been with a group of friends or family with an opportunity to talk, but everyone is busy on their smartphone or tablet?

Luckily, once you become aware that your time is being wasted, you can make changes. Then you can focus on what is really important. Plus you can become more productive and less stressed!

Here are a few things you can do to avoid screen-sucking!

Schedule and set limits

Schedule your time with technology. And set limits for the length of time you spend checking email, surfing social media, reading online news, etc.  Avoid video games that are real-time suckers! You can also set limits with your children. When you are strict with your screen time, you avoid wasting time and will get far more done. I have personally done this and it makes a huge difference in what I accomplish!

Take a look at your priorities

Is spending 3 hours on Facebook or Pinterest each day really a goal that you have for your life? Or are there other things that are more important? When you lose time because of technology, what things in life are not getting done? And what experiences are you really missing out on? Taking some time to look at your priorities can really help to put things into perspective and help you to focus on doing things that are far more meaningful to your life!

Take a technology break!

Could you live without your smartphone, TV, tablet, video games, etc for an entire day? You will be amazed how much you get done when you aren’t tethered to technology for 24 hours. I know of some people who have done a technology fast for longer periods as well…a week and even a month.  Doing a technology fast does not mean that you cannot use your cell phone. Be practical about it and keep safety a priority. But unless you are having to deal with an emergency, turn off the ringer. And avoid checking e-mail or social media on your phone. Planning a technology break one day a week can really help to break you free from the screen suckers. And it will reduce stress significantly.

Plan technology-free family and friend time

One thing that I see a lot of is groups of people gathered together…with everyone on their smartphone, not engaged in conversation with one another. I even know some married couples who sit in the same room and text one another instead of talking! It sounds absolutely crazy, but we often let technology interfere with connecting with the people that we care about most in our lives. And I guarantee that when you are on your deathbed, you won’t be saying “If only I hadn’t spent time with my family and spent more time playing Angry Birds!”

The relationships in our lives are far more important than anything on your smartphone. So the next time you get together with friends or family have tech-free time. One thing you can do when going out with friends is to make it a game! One challenge that I’ve seen is that the first person that picks up their cell phone has to pay the tab! At a family gathering, the first person who picks up their phone has to do dishes, or sit at the kiddie table. You get the idea, so get creative with it and make those you care about a priority!

Stop making excuses!

Too many people use the excuse that spending time playing video games, watching TV, or surfing the web is how they “relax”. But losing such a huge amount of time actually creates far more stress and does not relieve it! If you are really wanting to relax, look into going for a nice walk in nature. Or do some meditation, read a book, or laugh with family or friends. These things are truly more relaxing than winding up like a zombie staring at a screen! These things will promote real health and relaxation for your body and mind.

It is vital to recognize how allowing yourself to get sucked into too much screen time can ultimately harm not only your health but your relationships as well. It is up to you to take the first step today to pull yourself away from your screen. I’m going to do that now….and am going to read a good book!

  • Reply
    March 4, 2014 at 4:11 am

    The story of my life. Sigh. 🙂

    • Reply
      March 6, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      I feel your pain. A lot of people deal with this! 🙂

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