How lowering screen time can make you a better musician
Put your phone down, it’s time to get serious
So I know I’m a bit late on this one, but last night I finally got around to watching Netflix’s Social Dilemma. Not to give away any spoilers, but I’m afraid of my phone now, just saying.
As a blogger who uses Instagram frequently, I tend to find life difficult without social media in my pocket. Mostly because it’s a minor addiction, but as my competition is always using it, it’s pretty much an essential part of achieving my life goals.
It certainly feels like the more followers you get, the more successful you will become, which basically means that Instagram or Facebook reward those who use their platform for more hours.
The same goes if you’re a musician. For you to even be in with a shot, you need social media on your side, otherwise it’ll just be an uphill battle. So does this mean that you have to spend 8 hours a day on your phone even though you really want to live in the real world?
Not at all.
Why spend less time on social media?
Help guide has put this simply, and perfectly:
“Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Social media may promote negative experiences such as: Inadequacy about your life or appearance.”
Related article: 7 scientific ways for musicians to maintain happiness
How less screen time affects your career?
Logically speaking, you will achieve higher states of happiness than someone spending all day and all night staring at their phone. And guess what happens when you’re happy?
You become more motivated, because spending all day long on Instagram has been widely regarded as a soul sucker and a hindrance to creativity.
Think about it! If you spend your whole music career thinking about your online presence more than the actual music, how flavourless will your life become? And how long before you have a psychological crisis?
Here are a few ways that you can replace your social media usage with healthy, and career benefitting habits:
1. Spend more time practicing
This isn’t strictly for musicians, anyone with a goal in mind please spend more time working your craft. Give yourself time to improve and watch your hobby turn into a talent right before your eyes.
Put it this way, If you spend all day perfecting your sound and spend 2 hours on your phone to promote.
Someone spending 8 hours on their phone with a studio clock in rate of 2 hours a day.
Who’s going to be more eye catching?
Related article: 7 Important reasons why every artist should learn music theory
2. Make your 2 hours count
Let’s get into your actual time on social media then. What should you do with that time?
Here’s a tip, don’t waste any of it. Set a timer for however long your mobile sessions are and network as much as you possibly can in that time. Comment on hashtags, DM your fans, post, promote your music. Anything that will aid in showing your brand to the world needs to be done here.
Always remember to stick to your timer, it may be difficult and tempting to extend your screen time limit. But always remember the health disadvantages you’re putting on yourself.
3. Be more zen
As I mentioned before, a social media addiction can be soul sucking, dissatisfying and fatal to your mental health. So why not replace it with its polar opposite — meditating.
Okay not quite polar but you get the idea. Why not replace unhealthy habits with gratifying ones that enhance our world’s beauty? This is of course going to ease the cravings for your phone at first and also has several other health benefits.
What to do?
- Practice focusing on your breath for 10–20 minutes each day. With time, you’ll develop an intense sense of peace when you’re attentively breathing.
- When walking, count your breath with your steps.
- Practice daily yoga or Tai Chi
- If ever you feel stressed, anxious or depressed, always come back to your breath. I like to think of it as a reset button for your brain.
- See enough of nature
Meditation seems daunting at first, but the sooner you master the art of it, the happier, and more motivated you’ll become.
4. Have fun
Have you ever come back from the summer holidays hearing all the other kids talk about the cool things they did, while you were stuck in the bedroom playing games or trying to get more followers?
Who in their right mind thinks that is healthy?
If you find yourself spending more time on social media than you would like, please meet up with friends, or if you don’t have any, use social media solely for that purpose. Please!
Related article: How often should artists celebrate after working hard?
You can spend 30 minutes messaging several people on Snapchat, or you could spend the same amount of time having a real life conversation with one person. Which one is more rewarding? Which one is best for your mental wellbeing?
If your answer is incorrect, you need some time in the real world.
How to spend less time on your phone
I’ll just let you in on a few tips to make a cellular-free life much more accessible:
- Set time limits
- Practice meditation, yoga, Tai Chi and mindful walking (This tends to enhance the beauty of the real world, making your phone seem like more of a hindrance.)
- Practice leaving your phone far away from you.
- Turn off all unnecessary notifications
- Delete unnecessary apps
- Analyse how you use your phone (Check how often you use it, at what times, on which apps?)
So yeah, I’m pretty terror stricken after watching that genius documentary. But am still glad that it’s an issue we’re now all aware of.
The first step to problem solving is awareness.
Thank you for reading!