How often have you heard someone complain, “I just don’t have time for it!”? In today’s fast-paced world, it seems harder and harder to make time for what matters the most.
But at closer inspection, this common complaint rings hollow. The truth is that we have as much time as we want to have, as long as we make prudent choices about how to spend it.
This is the premise of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, a book by Laura Vanderkam. In it, she makes a compelling case for rethinking the way we spend our time and even changing the way we talk about “not having time.” She writes,
What if we actually have plenty of time? What if we could sleep eight hours a night, exercise five days a week, and learn how to play the piano without sacrificing work, family time, or any other activity that is important to us? We can. If we re-examine our weekly allotment of 168 hours, we’ll find that, with a little reorganization and prioritizing, we can dedicate more time to the things we want to do without having to make sacrifices.
Inspired by her book, I began thinking about how I can make time for what matters to me. I wanted more time with my friends and family and for my hobbies of hiking and reading. What could I cut out of my schedule in order to have more time for these life-giving and fulfilling activities?
The answer was obvious immediately. Like so many people, I struggle with the temptation to scroll mindlessly on my phone. And this bad habit is the exact opposite of life-giving and fulfilling. Instead, it leaves me feeling dissatisfied and irritable.
I’m far from alone in wasting time in this way. Recently I stumbled across a truly disturbing statistic: The average American will spend 44 years of their lives staring at screens. I know that’s not the life I want to live. But what can be done to drastically cut back those hours on screens?
The time spent on screens replaces things that are much more important: praying, exercising, enjoying family and friends. But even though we know this intellectually, it’s not an easy habit to break. Not at all. Screens are designed to be addictive, and many of us struggle with reducing time spent on devices.
The good news is that I found a few tricks that made a huge difference. My phone tracks how much time I spend on it, and after implementing these strategies, my phone usage dropped 64% in one week! I can feel a real difference in my happiness and sense of calm when I’m using my phone less.
If you’d like to make more time for what matters most to you too, try these 5 life hacks to cut back enormously on your screen time.