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Happiness Health Care

Screen Test

Screen TestAs part of Self-Care month and inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s “Better than Before.” I decided to tackle the habit of staring at my laptop screen for hours at a time.

The first step was to get a feel for how many minutes, hours actually, I am tapped into my browser. This was easily done by opening my browser (I know!) and looking at history. Turned out I averaged four hours of screen time a day over the past week, a third of it after dinner.

“I’ll bet I can cut my screen time in half and still get my work done, keep up with my friends and read the news,” I said to myself.

Changing a habit always begins with a decision. I decided to stop using my computer after dinner by turning off my laptop before I ate.

The first evening, I glanced at my To Do list after shutting down my computer and nearly turned it back on when I saw the word “Write.” I wondered if I had enough willpower to open a document without also opening the browser. The little voice in my head chided my search for a loophole with “Screen time is screen time” and I left the laptop off.

That blog post would have to get written the old-fashioned way, with pen on paper. I started scribbling.

My father who is also a writer, told me years ago when I first began writing on a computer that he preferred to use his typewriter. It kept his mind sharp, he said, to have to think out what he wanted to say and write without editing.

I found myself feeling a little lost on my first day into my new habit. I actually had too much time on my hands. I wondered who I might be letting down by not checking my email at 8pm. I had gotten ready for bed, scoured the kitchen sink, taken out the compost, pulled some weeds and dead-headed the petunias. I flirted with laying in the hammock for a spell but thought it a bit too reckless. Besides, it was a chilly evening and I would have had to put on a pair of socks.

I’m optimistic about using my new-found time wisely. I believe my writing will improve and the weeds will suffer. The next step will be waiting an hour before turning my computer on in the morning. I may try writing in my journal while I sip my cocoa. Heck, I may even do a little reading.

I’ll let you know how it goes. But I’ll probably tell you to your face rather than post it on my facebook.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille Armantrout lives with her soul mate, Bob, in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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