“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

— Seth Godin (author, marketer, teacher)

Around 4 hours per day.

That’s the average amount of time that we are strapped to a smartphone, scrolling through our screens. And here comes the inevitable projection:

4 hours per day is 28 hours per week, or 112 hours per month.

We all know (nay, convince ourselves of) the pros. These devices connect us and make the world smaller. A social media introduction might just melt the edges of an otherwise cringeworthy meeting in real-life. I’ve been there. I’ve benefitted.

But now look yourself in the mirror. Stare hard. Can you sell the story to yourself? Was it worth trading 1,344 hours of your life last year, just to post a note that will die in less time than it took to write?

When I read some analysis that my personal phone use was below the average, it wasn’t cause for celebration. My projections still made for a bleak result. Stretching the innocence of daily time scrolling to the stomach-turning awfulness of annual time wasted bordered on foul.

Slowly, surely, painfully, I’m converting that annual drain to a meaningful investment.

The unfinished manuscripts, the unopened courses, the conversations unspoken, and the playtime lost; enough is enough. It’s time to signal virtue only through what I make. It’s time to lose the fear of missing out instead of losing time.

The scrolling thumb needs a break. The hashtags need some hush.

We need you. The real you.

From where might you help someone claw back their wasted time?

Dr Marc Reid is an academic scientist and entrepreneur based in Glasgow, Scotland.

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PhD Chemist | Research Leader & Safety Entrepreneur

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