Before worker’s rights came into play, the average American was working 10 hours a day for six days. Today, lots of folks work eight hours a day for five days. Without question, there has been a reduction in work hours for the average American. What are we doing with this extra time?
Some have suggested that the entire media industry rose up because we had this extra time. Instead of working, Americans started tuning in to television and radio programs. Fast forward to today, the media offerings have expanded significantly. The internet has given us video streaming and social media.
Companies are fighting for our attention and time. The more time we spend streaming videos and posting on social media, the more profit they are making off of advertisements and subscriptions. It’s in their best interest to keep you watching and scrolling for as long as possible. But what’s profitable for these companies isn’t necessarily profitable for you.
You may think of scrolling on social media as something you do to wind down. It’s relaxing. It’s entertaining. It passes the time. It’s probably harmless when done in moderation. However, there are better things you could be doing.
Even if you spend just 30 minutes a day on social media, it equates to 182 hours or 7.6 days a year. That’s a conservative estimate. A few years ago Facebook reported that the average American user was spending 50 minutes a day on the social media app.
We do not have an unlimited amount of time. We don’t even know how much time we have left. It could be 24 years. It could be 24 minutes. 182 hours of life is valuable. 182 hours of working towards a goal is meaningful. People say they want to get fit, write a book or learn to play an instrument. Invest 182 hours into these goals and progress will be made.
Think of all the time you spend watching movies. Think about the time spent binge-watching Netflix. Think about the time spent scrolling, liking and commenting on social media. Why do we need to spend so much time being entertained anyways? Entertainment should not be one of the primary pursuits of life.
Don’t misunderstand. Entertainment is useful. It provides relief from the worries of life. It can also be a platform for communicating important ideas. Music can comfort. Movies can make us laugh. The downside is that it can be addictive. We use the feel-good feelings of entertainment to ease our pain. It temporarily distracts us, and that distraction is everything so we return again and again. Entertainment does not, however, solve our problems.
Solving problems takes time and intentional effort. Fixing relationships takes time. Developing your spiritual life takes time. Improving your professional skills takes time. Investing in the people around you takes time. Consuming too much media means that you will have less time to work on other things that might just matter more. Produce more and consume less.