This is a guest post by Sophie Bell‑Rhone.
If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’re spending way too much time staring at your smartphone – and you probably know it. Today’s world certainly demands we stay constantly connected. Always on hand to respond to texts, calls and emails; even on the move.
While much of the time we spend tapping away at our screens is necessary, plenty of it isn’t. In choosing to use our hours gossiping in the group chat, snapping selfies for Instagram and scrolling Twitter and Facebook – we’ve let many of the things we should be doing fall by the wayside.
We’re neglecting novels.
One such activity is reading.
We barely need remind you of the benefits of diving into a good book – the escapism, the excitement, the learning and the stress-busting. And yet it seems we’d sooner pick up our iPhone or Android to skim through tweets than be swept up by the romance of Pride and Prejudice, or follow Alice down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.
To give us the wake-up call we need, musicMagpie did the maths. Using data published by Ofcom, they found out how much time we’re wasting on various phone-based activities each month, before comparing this with the average time taken to read a bunch of bestsellers from cover-to-cover.
How app-dicted are we?
When they revealed how much time we’re throwing away over a phone screen each month, the results were shocking.
While 14 hours spent making phone calls might not sound too problematic, this was barely the tip of the iceberg. A monumental 23 hours are spent trawling social media monthly on average. And an even worse 24 ½ hours are used up by instant messaging – an entire day gone.
But it was emailing that stole the most of our time – a whopping 30 ½ hours.
What if we used those hours to read instead? What could we achieve?
The answer: more than you may think.
Take, for example, if you gave up social media for the month. In the 23.06 hours the average person would have otherwise spent, you could get through The Handmaid’s Tale, Jane Eyre, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and To Kill a Mockingbird.
That’s five iconic novels ticket off your book bucket list simply for staying off Facebook and Instagram.
The 24 ½ hours we spend instant messaging could be equally as fruitful. musicMagpie found you could experience the roaring 20s in ‘The Great Gatsby’, climb through the wardrobe and visit Narnia, learn ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ and jet off around the universe in ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ instead. And even experience ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ too.
Even doing as little as giving up video calling, something we spend 8 hours on each month on average, could be productive. This would free you up to get through Animal Farm and Pride and Prejudice front-to-back.
Above all, reading offers us a limitless world of escapism. With its widely recognized stress-busting qualities, it seems laughable we’d ever opt for the buzzes, pings and notifications of our demanding smartphones instead.
Discover how much great literature you could fit back into your life when you switch off a little bit sooner each day.