Screen Time

Screen Time

On a recent trip to London, I noticed something peculiar on a short ride on the Tube. Looking around the carriage on that short journey, I realised I was the only person not glued to the screen of my smart phone.

What were they all doing, I thought. Sending a text message? Catching up on the latest headlines? Reading this blog? Whatever it was, I found it quite surreal to see scores of people engrossed in a 5 inch screen.

Included in the most recent update of my iPhone is a new setting called “Screen Time”. It sends me a notification each week to show how the average time each day on my phone. I’ve not really looked at it before but I was curious to see how I fared. Here are the results…

I suspect one hour a day is less than many people but over a week, that’s still 7 hours, or a full working day. To say I’m not on social media and only about three people text me, I’m not quite sure how I’ve managed to fill those 7 hours.

It got me thinking, I’m always complaining about not having enough time in the day, so how about I use that hour of phone time each day to do something more productive?

Here are five ideas about what you could be doing the next time you reach for your phone:

Cycle to the shops

The next time you run out of milk, try cycling to the shops instead. I suspect most of us live within an hour’s ride of the nearest shop. It’s pretty difficult to update your facebook profile while riding a bike and you’ll feel like a real hunter-gatherer on your return, having sourced milk under your own steam.

Cycle in the dark

Now Winter is well and truly here, it’s tempting to leave the bike in the shed until the clocks go forward again. The evenings are way too dark, I hear you say. If this sounds familiar, you need to ask Santa for some decent bike lights and some reflective clothing so you can discover the joys of riding at night. I often nip out for half an hour in the dark. Yes it’s cold. Yes it’s a bit spooky. But you feel wide awake when you get home and it’s far healthier than looking at the weekend’s weather forecast on your phone.

Plan your next walk

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t a normal teenager in that I spent a lot of my free time poring over maps. I loved looking at maps and planning routes, seeing how everything fits together. If the thought of getting outside just isn’t working for you, spread out the Ordnance Survey on the kitchen table and work out some routes you could do at the weekend. There’s something therapeutic about visualising the landscape depicted on a map and it should get you excited about your next outdoors fix.

Do something for nature

One lazy Sunday a few weeks ago, I dragged the kids outside to make a bug hotel. We had some old pallets lying around and some other bits and bobs and stacking them up kept them (and me) entertained for a good hour. It’s also encouraging more wildlife to the garden so everyone’s a winner. The RSPB website has a handy guide to constructing the perfect bug B&B.

Make a calendar

With Christmas just around the corner, why not spend an hour making a calendar with photos from your recent outdoor trips? There are plenty of options online where you can drag and drop photos into a template and a few days later, you’ll have a shiny calendar arrive on your doorstep. Don’t have enough photos from the outdoors to fill 12 months? That’s a sure sign that you need to get off your phone, get outside more in 2019 and start feeling better as a result!

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