For the last few years (or every other year), in the second half of the year, a strange thing happens.
I go through a minor or quasi-major health setback. I’m not kidding.
In 2014 November, I went through iPad shoulder which caused me to take a complete break from blogging.
In August of 2016, I witnessed something that shook me to my core and plunged me into deep anxiety for six months afterwards.
In July 2018, I injured my wrist. Even the doctors are not sure what caused it although they suspect it was an extension of Repetitive stress injury.
And in August of 2019, I have been experiencing headaches and minor eye strain, possibly due to prolonged screen time (mostly on the laptop).
Now, there was one part of me that was getting more than mildly annoyed by these ‘series of unfortunate events’. Then there was the other, more practical me looking at all of them in a ‘big picture’ moment.
Almost every incident, though, has helped me towards an epiphany of sorts. (You can blame it on all the self-improvement books I read. No, really! 😉 )
Things have changed from the time I started actively blogging in 2013. (Yes, I started blogging in 2007, but that was me, writing into the void without an audience).
I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at screens. But it’s not just that. As I look back at the last 6 years of blogging, I also see the add-ons that have happened, as a consequence.
As of today, I have a presence on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I have another blog (my main blog), my e-mail newsletter and my contacts on Whatsapp.
When you add all that up, it is a LOT of time spent looking at screens. I am not blaming the technology; instead, I am just stating it as fact.
Between social media and my blog, I wind up spending more than 10 hours a day looking at screens. Which, come to think of it, is pretty intense. (And I’m not even counting the hours spent on the Kindle or watching TV)
Last week, when I realised this, I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture. What could I cut out of my day, to ensure I only use this to the most of my benefit?
That’s when I understood the power of our gifts and how we choose to use them.
If you were to ask me what gifts I had (in the blogging space), I’d say it’s the ability to engage with people online. And the ability to simplify something complex so more people can understand it.
I love engaging with my readers and followers, make no mistake about it. But I don’t have to do it every single day. There’s a reason we have rest days in a week. Time to put them to use.
Similarly, if I have to spend time on social media, I want to ensure it is for the right motives. Long-time friends of mine might have observed my unusual silence on platforms like Twitter and Facebook these days.
It’s for this reason: the time I spend there should be of value, both to those who follow me and for my own self.
I really don’t want this post to sound superior in any way and I hope it doesn’t. I just want you to consider why you are online and if you are using the time to your advantage.
And to examine if you are using your given gifts and talents, for the purpose that they exist.