Limiting Screen time as an Author
How long do you look at a screen every day? Putting trackers on your devices is likely to give you surprising results. It’s a hard thing to talk about. Many of us spend at least six hours a day working on computers and at least two more hours a day scrolling through social media on our phones. That adds up to eight hours, and most of us work more than twelve! Does this matter, though? Not for everyone, limiting screen time as an author. Some people are very good at getting things done. People like these can run a successful business in four hours a day or work for a book publishing company, use the internet in moderation, and live a healthy life by taking time away from screens. But they are unicorns.
Most of us don’t have this kind of balance, which hurts our health, work, and happiness. According to a 2019 article from Harvard Medical School, using devices too much can make it hard to sleep or come up with new ideas. In agreement, an article in Psychology Today says that spending too much time in front of a screen “changes our ability to think, read, and write in a deep way.” Also in 2017, Enterpreneur.com found that “between 50 and 90% of people who use a computer at work show at least some symptoms of […] eye-related problems.” Also, the chances are higher of:
- Trouble at heart
- Too high blood pressure
- Many cholesterols
- Diabetes type 2
- injury from straining over and over.
- And being all by yourself is
In the end, many of us are addicted to devices with screens, which is bad for our physical, mental, and cognitive health, as well as our happiness and career prospects. So, how can we make it better? The answer is to limit the amount of time you spend in front of a screen. Simple, right? You might think it’s impossible because you need to pay more attention to your online business, not less. But you can find a better balance if you make a few simple changes to how you work. Also, you don’t have to give up anything. You can improve your writing services business while spending less time in front of a screen. How will be explained in today’s blog post.
Focus on developing good habits.
Gretchen Rubin, an expert on self-improvement, says in her book Better than Before, “What you do every day is more important than what you do once in a while.” For example, if you gain weight, you can’t make up for a lifetime of small chocolate snacks with a huge salad meal. Instead, you could swap unhealthy meals for healthy ones and meet with a personal trainer once a week to make real changes. Change doesn’t have to be big. In fact, studies show that quitting all at once doesn’t work as well or last as long as cutting back slowly. Balance helps you make changes in your life that are good until they become habits.
When you change your habits to use your screen less, the same thing happens. Using our weight as an example, you could reduce your “sugar” by working less and keeping your phone out of your bedroom at night. You won’t be able to drag out your screen time by putting things off online every day because you have a daily deadline, and not being able to use devices in your bedroom will help you get used to not needing them as much. Add to this plan the habit of doing something with friends when you have free time, which is similar to getting a trainer. Because you’ll have to answer to someone, you’ll get up from your screen more often, which will help you keep healthy habits.
Imagine you already have some control over yourself. In this case, you don’t check Facebook in bed, you have set office hours, and you can avoid screens when you’re not at work. It’s just that working 70-hour weeks is the only way to make money. Then what? It’s fine if some of those 70 hours are spent working a day job. But if you’re a full-time writer, the problem might not be your habits but the way you do things. If you really write for six hours a day and do other things for another four, seven days a week, without putting things off, you’re not working efficiently. You can only spend less time in front of a screen if you work smarter.
- Do you work in a place where you won’t be interrupted?
- How many new sentences do you write each day?
- How often do you change the books you write?
- Every hour, check your dashboards for ads.
All of you should ask yourselves these questions. If you write at home but your family doesn’t respect your writing time, you might want to consider moving to a coffee shop. You’ll have to pay for the coffee, but you can work without being disturbed. Do you wait until you’re tired to write if you have peace and quiet but write slowly? If that happens, try changing the time you write, keeping track of how many words you write per hour, and only writing when you feel good. And if marketing takes up a lot of your time, figure out which activities give you the most return for your time. Then stop having so much to do. You might be able to do twice as much in half the time if you work smarter.
Changes in Print
If you ask a reader how they think authors work, they might say things like, “They scribble ideas in spiral-bound notepads,” “They write by hand,” and “They send manuscripts to publishers by snail mail.” On the other hand, modern authors have to deal with the fact that most of us have turned writing into a digital process to save time. We used to write down ideas on napkins, but now we type them into apps on our phones that sync with our computers. We don’t have to rewrite our first draughts because we type them instead of writing them by hand. Instead of reading the editors’ handwritten notes on paper, we look at their Track Changes in Microsoft Work.
Running a business as an author in the 21st century means you can’t get rid of all screens. Still, it makes sense to do some things the old way. Proofreading is a good place to start. A 2021 MasterClass article says that printing out your work makes it “easier on the eyes and can help you find typos.” The new context also lets you see it from a different angle and read it without having to scroll. This makes it easier to spot formatting problems and words that are used more than once, among other problems. It’s an easy first step, and if you proof in print, you might be inspired to use paper for other parts of your process.
It was hard to dictate a book many years ago. If you wanted to read something again before writing it down, you had to skip through long recordings. Also, whether you did the transcription yourself or paid someone else to do it, it took time and money. But it’s much easier and cheaper now. For instance, the tech company Nuance makes Dragon Dictation, which types your words as you say them. Its voice-recognition AI isn’t perfect, but Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all racing to make good voice assistants, so the field is growing fast. With this technology, you can get instant transcriptions, which authors use to:
- improve how fast they write.
- less how much they watch television
- Do more in your everyday life.
You could do something similar to reduce the amount of time you spend on your screen. Many authors plan their books on a physical notepad and then dictate their first draughts onto a portable device while walking. Using the same method, you could then move any files you record to a computer at home that has Dragon installed and have it transcribe your words so you can edit them later. It’s hard to get good at taking notes by dictation, and the first time you do it, it feels weird. It also makes mistakes. But authors who stick with this method and talk about it say they spend a lot less time in front of a screen and feel better about their health because they move around more.
Attend real-life events.
Even though COVID-19 cast a shadow over the world, lockdowns led to new ideas and helped technology spread faster than ever before. Zoom became a common name and has stayed with us to this day. It is now used all the time by families, friends, and professionals of all kinds, including authors.
You can fight these new monsters, though, by making more real-world appearances. Now that most countries have eased their COVID restrictions, you can go to book signings, school talks, and corporate events. It’s sometimes even urged. People who host events will often pay more to have an experienced speaker there in person. If you go to the live show, you’ll not only spend less time in front of a screen, but you’ll also get to know potential readers and contacts better. You’ll be happier and do better because of the work. If a place lets you, you can even collect email addresses in person, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of how much you spend on ads and how well they do.
Schedule Your Precious Time
It’s hard to limit the amount of time you spend in front of a screen these days. When you need to be efficient and there are many ways to get hooked, it can feel like the world and your own brain are against you. You’ll need to be disciplined and plan ahead if you want to swim upstream. But if you keep at it, you’ll use your screen less and level up your author business at the same time. Willpower is a small price to pay if you want to improve your life.