Photo by Lucas Hodge

The year we learn to spend our time well

Why the offline world will become more interesting than the Internet in 2018

Let’s face it. We all know we’re not spending our time online well.

The online world infiltrates every part of our lives through our many portable, internet-enabled devices. Many of us wake up and go to sleep with our smartphones by our side. We may even touch our phones more often in a day than we touch our loved ones. We’re starting to wake up to the fact that our minds are being ‘hijacked’ by the technology industry in their race for our attention. Some people label it addiction, whereas Mary Aiken, author of The Cyber Effect, prefers to talk about a maladaptation.

In the real world, we know how to keep track of time. Yet, when we enter the online world, Aiken explains that we experience a ‘time distortion effect’. Our awareness is in a different place but our senses tell us that nothing has changed. We haven’t left the room we’re in and nothing around us has changed. We lose track of time. And the hours we spend online come with a cost, especially when we lose touch with reality. What could we have spent that time doing instead? Getting a good night’s sleep? Exercising? Starting a hobby? Being present with someone who really needs us?

New emerging technologies keep pushing the boundaries forward. We can expect adults and children to experience even more distractions and disempowerment in the future. There’s potential for us to become more disconnected from ourselves, each other and from what really matters to us.

While technology could be designed differently to help us spend our time better in the future, it will still only be part of the solution.

What I believe we need now is a whole new conversation about how we relate to the online world. The Internet is here to stay. How can we adapt effectively and make this extraordinary tool work for us?

Let’s use the power of imagination to lead the way.

Imagine if we lived in a world where we informed ourselves about all aspects of the online world: the benefits and the pitfalls.

Imagine if we reclaimed our attention, and restored our power to spend our time well.

Imagine if we reset our boundaries and created sacred spaces and times in our lives where we could be present without the distraction of technology.

Imagine if we had resilience and discipline to stay focused on the things that matter the most to us, not just as individuals, but also to our families and communities.

Spend Time Well is about making that happen.

Join our Slow Sunday movement, and be part of a community of people taking a weekly extended break from all our devices.

You are invited to use this article as a conversation starter about how we can spend our time well.