Is It Waste or Want?


How much time do you think you waste in a day?

I was reading an article about how much time we spend on the internet, tv, radio, streaming, email, using apps, and social media. In the US, we average an astounding 10 hours and 39 minutes a day doing all these activities.

Some people can listen to radio while they work so I don’t see this as a valid addition, but the other stuff? Yeah. I can see that. According to the study, we’re divided by age. The over-50 age bracket watches more tv than Millennials. And it comes as no surprise that younger people surf the net and use more apps than older people.

Copyright: <a href=''>samotrebizan / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

It can be argued that you’re not really wasting time if that’s how you decompress, but I think that’s kind of a cheat. The brain doesn’t rest if it’s constantly being stimulated. That’s why medical professionals tell you to turn off the tv and computer a couple of hours before bedtime.

On average we watch 2-3 hours of tv or streamed movies a night. Greg might watch a little more because I tend to get antsy when I know I have something to do.

I spend another two hours on the net in the morning usually reading and responding to emails, with intermittent breaks throughout the day poking into social media and blog reading. For the sake of argument, I’ll be generous and say I spend an additional two hours on the net for a total of four hours a day.

That means I spend 6-7 hours a day on the net or watching media. Some of that time is either work related or necessary viewing to stay abreast of current events, but the rest of it is entirely for folly.

Sometimes when I hear people say they have no time, I wonder if they take their “down time” into consideration. Do we really have no time to exercise, eat right, or play with the kids, or are we hiding behind Facebook and online games?

For years I refused to get the internet at home and at work. I know I speak blasphemy, but it’s true. I knew even back then it was a rabbit hole.

I prefer to be physically active only because I’m the fidgety type. The only time I actually enjoy sitting down and doing nothing is after I’ve worked my keester off. If I’m too tired to lift my arms, all I want to do is watch an old movie, something I’ve already seen so my brain doesn’t have to engage.

I’m old enough to remember pre-internet days. For some reason I don’t remember anyone back then saying they had no time. I’ve actually given this some serious thought. We were busy, but when the work was done we spent time with family or actual flesh and blood friends.

We read more. We savored every page of a newspaper. Meals were always sit-down and slower. And we took more Sunday drives to nowhere in particular. I miss the drives. We used to pick a new destination every week and discover our “back yard”. Going to the movies was date night. Eating out wasn’t just grabbing a bite. We actually had real conversations over dinner.

So what do you think? Do you know how much time you spend a day on media, social media, and the internet? If you’re old enough to remember pre-internet days, what did you do back in the day in your spare time?


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  1. I do remember pre-Internet days, but I think I actually watched more TV then than I do now, maybe because you had to watch the show when it came on or you missed it. Even later when you could record shows on the VCR, it was a hassle programming it, making sure you had enough room on the tape etc. Now, I can pretty watch TV when it’s convenient for me.

    I sometimes wonder where my day went, what I did in those hours. I’m trying to live more on purpose and focus on what’s important to me now. I never used to get so easily distracted. Sigh.

  2. I probably spend 6-7 hours on the Internet in addition to the 8 hours I work on it. That is sobering, isn’t it? I am making an effort though to read books more and not just spend mindless time on social media. I do remember the pre-internet days. Lots more family time together and relaxing downtime. I know some people who take a day off from the internet weekly just to “reconnect” to the “real ” world. It is sad when you go out to dinner and you see people sitting around the table and all have their phones out instead of interacting with each other.


  3. Pre-internet my favourite downtime activity. Today? LOL same! The big difference is that I don’t have to go to the library or track a book down at a bookshop. I hope online and download it when I want, to my kindle. As much as I don’t get people bringing a phone to the dinnertable and texting (or whatever app they use), I do like many of the changes the internet has brought.

  4. I got the internet because they told me I had to in order to work in Publishing, and even back then I saw how much of a time sink it would be. I made the decision to curtail my time to one hour a day, two at the max. With a couple of exceptions (like on 9/11, when I was relaying e-mail messages from people in NY to their families) I’ve stuck to that. Other than my blog I have no social media presence, and I don’t own a smart phone, which helps, but I still often get swamped with e-mail.

    I don’t watch television or play video games, so my spare time is still devoted to reading, journaling, quilting, cooking and other domestic hobbies, etc., I used to write a lot more hand-written letters in the pre-internet days. I still would, but no one else wants to write back. I’ve gone from corresponding with about thirty family and friends to about five, and that includes my mom. I miss letters. They’re so much better than e-mail.

  5. Lynn: What you said reminded me of how we got the internet at home. My sisters kept bugging us to get email so we could stay in touch more.

    We got internet. Now no one in the family ever writes us! The most we get is the occasional text message.

  6. Two hours TV a day – mostly news. 6.30 am to 9.30 am blogs, facebook and news sites on the iPad as I slowly wake up…and sometimes speak. 10 am to 1600 am writing related tasks with occasional forays into distraction. I try to find at least an hour a day to read. I know what you mean. Time seemed endless once

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