Beyond the screens
Updated: Feb 4, 2022
A personal note on thoughts around my years inquiry around screen time and it's relation to the pandemic.
2022, the 3rd year of the pandemic. Third, can you believe it? It's only midway through the 2nd pandemic that I realised that my screen time was way over healthy amounts.
“How much of my day time do I ideally want to spend on the screen? How much of my work can involve me moving away from the screen? Is this screen time directly affecting my relationship with the environment & society? ”
Let me take you through how the second pandemic wave was for me. I remember waking up, using my meditation app to start my day at ease, post which I would get on to my online yoga class. After making breakfast and spending sometime speaking to my flatmate, I would switch on all my devices for fun day at work. This work basically involved me sitting from roughy 10 30 in the morning to 6pm in the evening toggling between zoom calls, design softwares, phone calls, emails and the drill.
Post 6 pm say on a good day, we did go out for a walk/swim but once we were home, it was the time to speak to our families / friends over video call. Back then I was a lot more into instagram than I am now and well sure, it took up quite a bit of my time.
I was aware of how much screen time was really affecting me and was making conscious efforts to disengage wherever possible as well, such as reading at night instead of watching something or going outdoors to work out instead of doing it at home.
A month through the second wave of the pandemic though made me completely reassess my relationship with these screens. These were the questions I was asking myself, how much of my day time do I ideally want to spend on the screen? How much of my work can involve me moving away from the screen? Is this screen time directly affecting my relationship with the environment & society? What are some easy steps I can take to reduce my screen time?
As large as these questions may seem, the answers seem to arise pretty clearly. I realised this need to pivot. There was a deep innate desire to work in the more tangible space. This inquiry is still in process and the pivotal actions are small at the moment but definitely life changing as well.
Working independently as a designer may sound ultra fun but it does not mean that I was the best boss ever. The pandemic resulted in more free time as social activities cut down which resulted in me shooting myself in the foot and taking up more than I'd have liked which led to me meeting my dear friend, burn out :)
Ever since the burnout, the number of projects I decide to take up have been reduced to a minimum. This in turn may not provide as much of a financial "success" as I may want but it did the mental health "success" I needed. By reducing the amount of work I took up, I found more breathing room to read, write and engage in activities/ ideas I didn't have time to do otherwise. This as well helped in exploring work with different mediums. I made it sort of a goal to try and introduce some amount of tangibility in all work which led to me explore embroidery & such.
To answer the questions I was asking during the second pandemic, at this point I work on only 3 projects at a given time and spend only 4-5 hours of my day on the screen. Which is a considerable decline from 8 hours. I will try to reduce it even more so if possible. A lot more of my time goes in exploring recipes, sports, friends & literature. Who says you got to wait till you're 50 to retire?
Eventually though I do feel a innate need to engage further with the environment and get involved in activities that bring me closer to nature at large. In this way truly balancing things in order of priority - nature, society & self. May seem like a long shot, but it is a work in progress.
I'd love to hear the answer to these questions from you.