By Martin Stec
Edited by Linda Wertlenová
In a world where technology has become a big part of our lives, we tend to spend a massive portion of our time on screens, affecting our productivity, health, and future.
We are lazy. We are conditioned to be lazy by the comfort we are offered. The technology we have gives us entertainment for hours, with practically no effort required from us. We never have the time to be bored, with our mind always focused on the never-ending flow of information from social media and entertainment platforms. Our attention span is decreasing every day. Studies have shown that not only does this excessive screen time affect physical well-being, causing poor sleep quality, worse eyesight and increased risks of obesity and diabetes, but it also affects mental health, leading to higher levels of stress and anxiety, and could lead to depression.
We tend to become less productive, less focused and less motivated on our personal projects, because working efficiently seems so hard and takes so much time for ever so slight results, compared to online platforms that provide us instant gratification and dopamine, effortlessly. Social media apps, video games, streaming platforms, and websites are all competing against each other for our screen time, designing the most addictive and gratifying services they can to extract our data. And it works; the average teen spends over 6 hours daily on screens. We’d think most apps we use are free; they are not. We are paying for them with the most valuable currency we have: our time.
Let’s take a low average of about 6 hours of daily recreational screentime. That’s 42 hours per week, 180 hours per month, and 2190 hours per year. That’s 91 days. That’s a quarter of a life. Imagine all the books that could’ve been read in that time. Imagine all the new skills that could’ve been learned in that time. Imagine the results if that time had been used to workout. Time is the most valuable thing we have, and it is one of the few ones we have some solid control over; and there are more productive ways to spend our time than on videogames, social media, or other entertainment platforms. Sooner or later, we will be forced to change this lifestyle, and it would be for the better. It is time to take back control again and turn this weakness into a strength.
Often, the best source of motivation to change is ambition. Dreaming big, dreaming of any kind of success in life, be it wealth, fulfillment, happiness, recognition, or any other kind of achievement, should provide us with the will to put in the necessary effort to reach those goals. Once we have the motivation, we’ll have to do the necessary work to reach our goals. Now we should ask ourselves this one question: who’s more likely to succeed in life, Person A, who spends the majority of their free time on addictive videogames and social media for instant gratification and short-term entertainment, procrastinating on their projects, or Person B, who uses their free time optimally to work out and stay fit, to perfect their skills, to study or to read, and to put in the work they know is necessary to achieve their long term goals, trying to improve and become the best version of themselves? If we’d pick Person A as the most likely to succeed, we’d probably be lying to ourselves; it might be time to take our future into our hands and try and become a Person B on our own.
Change is tough, especially when it’s change from an easy, comfortable lifestyle to a way of life that might start as less gratifying, and harder to maintain. However, it is worth it; a healthy lifestyle, connected to our work, nature, passion, and people around us, without any addictions, is a lifestyle worth striving for. But it won’t be possible to jump into such an ideal right away, because change is not easy, and starting too hard might just lead to giving up a week later. It is therefore important to take it easy at the start and add progressively more and more difficulty so to be able to succeed in each task, while still improving over time. When it comes to long-term goals, they can’t be expected to be reached immediately, but that’s what makes them so rewarding.
To conclude, it is obvious that we spend too much time on screens and in the digital world, which negatively affects almost every part of our lives, but we are the ones in control, and it is up to us to produce the effort and put in the work necessary to quit this lazy lifestyle and strive for a more healthy, productive, and fulfilling one.