I replaced an hour of screen time with reading each night. The impact on my creativity and focus was astonishing.

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Before I embarked on this journey of swapping screen time for books every night, my life was a whirlwind of emails, social media updates, and binge-watching sitcom reruns. The blue light from my devices was my lullaby, and I didn’t think much of it. Like many of us, technology had become an integral part of my existence.

Now, you might wonder why someone would willingly choose to ditch the digital world for the good old paper and ink. You see, somewhere between the constant notifications and mindless scrolling, I felt an urge to break free. An urge to reclaim my creativity and focus that seemed to be lost in the digital abyss.

So one day, I made a pact with myself. I decided to replace an hour of screen time with reading each night. No more checking work emails in bed or scrolling through Instagram until I fell asleep. Instead, I would immerse myself in stories and knowledge captured within the pages of a book.

The decision was met with surprise from friends and family. “Why?” was the common question. After all, wasn’t it easier to just scroll through a newsfeed than to read a novel or a non-fiction book? And what about all those thought-provoking articles and inspiring stories on the internet?

The initial days were tough, I won’t lie. The allure of screens was strong. But as I continued to turn pages night after night, something shifted within me. A spark of creativity that had been subdued by constant digital noise began to glow again.

Fast forward to now, I can say without hesitation that choosing to read instead of indulging in screen time has impacted me in ways I never imagined possible. Here’s how my life has changed over the past year since making this transformative switch.

How I implemented my screen time swap

Starting the screen time swap was daunting. It wasn’t just about reading, it was about breaking a habit deeply ingrained in my routine. So, I took it one day at a time.

The first step was setting a strict digital curfew. An hour before my usual bedtime, I would switch off all my devices. No laptops or phones allowed in the bedroom — a rule I enforced with utmost discipline.

Next, I picked a book. It didn’t matter what genre or author it was. The idea was to read, to absorb words and stories without the distraction of hyperlinks or pop-up ads. I made sure to keep my reading material varied, from mystery novels to biographies and personal development books.

As days turned into weeks, this new habit became second nature. My brain started associating bedtime with reading and not screen time, an association that helped me stick to the routine even on tough days.

Reading became my sanctuary in the chaos of the digital world. It felt like a breath of fresh air, a respite that allowed me to unwind and refocus my energy. But it’s not just the act of reading that brought this change — it was the conscious choice to disconnect and immerse myself in a different reality.

Challenging the digital norm

The common belief is that our devices are essential for staying informed and connected. They’re seen as portals to a world of information, social interaction, and entertainment. Disconnecting from them, even for an hour, seems almost unthinkable to many.

“Why would you ignore the digital world?” was a question I often faced. “Isn’t it boring to read when you can watch, listen, or interact?” With our lives revolving around screens, it’s understandable why this perspective prevails.

But here’s the thing — my experience was different. I found that stepping away from the screen wasn’t isolating or boring. On the contrary, it was liberating. With each page I turned, I felt more connected to myself, my thoughts, and my creativity. The information overload and constant distraction were replaced with focus and clarity.

I learned that the value of an experience isn’t dictated by how connected it keeps us to the digital world, but how connected it keeps us to ourselves.

Regaining creativity and focus

The power of this habit change was truly astonishing. As I replaced screen time with reading, my mind began to feel less cluttered. I found myself thinking more clearly and creatively than before.

I started waking up with new ideas and solutions to problems that had previously stumped me. My focus improved dramatically, not just during my reading hour, but throughout the day. I was more present in conversations and tasks, my mind no longer scattered by digital distractions.

But how can you experience this transformation? Start small. Choose a book over your phone for 15 minutes each night before sleep. Gradually increase this time as it becomes more comfortable. Remember, the goal isn’t to quit screens entirely but to find a balance.

Create a cozy reading nook in your home — a quiet space dedicated solely to reading. Make it inviting and comfortable, a place you look forward to retreating to each night.

Finally, be patient with yourself. Changing habits takes time and discipline. There might be days when you falter, but don’t let that discourage you. Keep going, one page at a time.

You’ll soon realize that this isn’t just about replacing screen time with reading; it’s about reclaiming your mental space and nurturing your creativity and focus.

Embracing a broader perspective

This journey has taught me that we often hold the keys to our own shackles. We get so caught up in societal norms and expectations that we forget to question them. We take them as gospel truth without considering how they impact our lives.

In reality, the so-called ‘norm’ of constant connectivity and screen time is just another unexamined societal expectation. For me, challenging this norm and taking responsibility for my digital habits was my first step towards reclaiming my mental space and creativity.

– Recognizing my dissatisfaction with screen time was a turning point.
– Accepting the reality of my situation, without hiding behind the veil of blind positivity, was crucial.
– I had to understand that my habits were heavily influenced by societal expectations.
– Pursuing my personal desire to read more was not just a choice but a declaration of autonomy.
– By breaking free from societal expectations, I felt a sense of self-empowerment.

The truth is, we all have the power to shape our reality. But it requires us to consciously examine our habits, beliefs, and expectations.

Remember, this is your life. Don’t let societal norms dictate your habits and happiness. Instead, question them, challenge them, and create your own path forward. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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