Monday, September 30, 2019

Thief of time

I’ve discovered that there are unwanted intruders in our home. They are not there to take our stereo or laptop. What these intruders are stealing is much more valuable – our time. 

Several years ago, we had our TV sitting on a table in the living room. We flipped it on the first thing each morning. Even when we weren’t watching, it was there in the background droning on about things of little value and telling us to ask our doctors if a brand name drug was right for us, or asking if we needed adult diapers.

When we did sit down to watch a program, it was often a re-run or something less than compelling. Watching TV was eating away our precious free time. We discovered that we were writing fewer songs, practicing less often, reading less, and when we ate dinner, we rarely talked to each other.

When we decided to remodel a few years ago, we made the decision to move the TV to what would become our laundry room. We bought a small love seat to go in there. We made it less comfortable for a reason.

If there was a program we wanted to see, we would sit out there. Sometimes we listened to the TV over the clang of tennis shoes in the clothes dryer and the spew of water going into the washer. As a result, we watched less TV.

Our creative output increased overnight. We wrote more songs, Jilda painted, and we talked during dinner. 

On a side rant, why do doctors and dentists have the TV blaring in their waiting room? Several years ago, when Jilda was taking infusion treatments, the treatment room had 12 chairs. Most of the time, each chair was filled with people with serious ailments. Some were slowly dying of cancer. Hung on the wall was a 48-inch TV that was always on. 

Playing soft classical music or some other form of music without words would have been like a salve for her soul. Cable news made her want to slash both of her wrists.

Now back to my regularly scheduled column about intruders.

In the last several years, there’s a new intruder in my life. The new thief is in my pocket.

Before the smartphone, I could go all day without checking my email or my social media feeds. Now, if I don’t check it every few minutes, I start twitching. 

A while back, when Apple pushed out a new software release, it put in a feature called screen time. It reports on how much time I spend with email, social media, listening to music, or playing games. I admit it – I play Words with Friends.

When I began seeing my summary of how much time I spend with my phone in hand, I was alarmed. The living room TV was a minor distraction compared to how much time I’m spending on my phone. It’s bordering on an addiction.

Maybe the only alternative is to go back to a flip phone or go cold turkey and go cell-less altogether. 

I’d be interested to hear my readers’ thoughts on how to combat this intruder.


  1. The television is on more often than I like. My partner likes the background noise.
    The phone is not my addiction. Screen time however, needs rationing. Severely.

  2. Sort of related - I forgot my Fitbit at home ALL day and it was like a holiday.

  3. Whatever happened to procrastination, that old thief of time? Oh I see, it's been slipped into our phones with the SIM card! An app which tells you time's up when you have scrolled through stuff on your phone for far too long is what's needed.
    Your TV in the laundry made me laugh. There is no TV here at the Trash Palace, hasn't been for years.

  4. We only have one TV and that is in the den. We do not watch much TV except before we go to bed. We have a few shows we like to watch.
    However, I do let the iPhone and Ipad take up most of my time. I catch myself ignoring conversations with my husband and I will put it away. I once went all the way across town watching my phone in the car. I felt so guilty once I realized. I have been trying to stay off the phone and computer when my husband is around so I can suck up every moment with him.

  5. You are right both are a thief of time. When we have to use our imagination we are definitely more creative. Wose thing about both is that there is no need to communicate with others face to face. Their of time and space too.

  6. We don't watch much TV but my husband has installed it in where he can watch the news channel when he sits to eat. We rarely talk during meal and that's not good.

    I only wear my iPhone in my pocket when I go somewhere. Most of the time, it's sits on the counter or my night table, on my desk or near where I am. I have turned a lots of settings off, that were gobbling my battery power and also that screen time that told me I only spent so many minutes on my phone. I was getting annoyed that my phone would wake me up to let me know how little time I spent on my phone. You can set your iPhone to the settings you need. I also turned off the news as it was constantly sending me their pick of most recent news that I was not interested in. That was as annoying as a tooth ache. I'm not addicted to my smart phone but I like to have it with me when I travel for security and peace of mind. I can alway turn on some settings when I need them and turn them off when I don't need them.

    There's a video called 7 iPhone Settings you Need to Turn Off Now.

    I hope you get some rain soon, cause Jilda is about to take some drastic measures. lol...
    Hugs, Julia

  7. I can SO identify with 'twitching' when I don't look at my phone every few minutes. Drives Tom crazy. Telling: Last night we elected to have dinner in the dining room and I left my phone on the kitchen counter. It was really a mental challenge for me not to get up and retrieve it.

  8. I consider the cell phone to be a tool. It protects me if I need help. I can call police or road assistance if needed. My family can contact me any time. Other than that I seldom use it. I just do not want to be so connected to anyone.

  9. I have to say, I have always watched TV and still enjoy it. It has taken me away on many dreams and away from bullies etc... My hubby and I watched TV but we talk in between...often more my hubby so we have to reverse what we were watching:). As for phones? Leave it in another room and go out for walks without the phone unless you are waiting for an urgent call. Most of the time, the calls are not urgent...remember when people had to leave messages on their answering machines?

  10. I don;t spend much time with the phone. WHen I do it actually saves time as I check the weather or look up information. I don't talk much, I text some and that saves time. As for TV, it is on a lot and there is one in every room we spend time. It would inhibit my creativity if I had any.

  11. I don't have a cell phone. I am retired. I have the TV on the weather channel for ambience while I do crosswords. I do have a laptop where I check the news on my MSN home page. I have the screen set to the local radar. I live in a gated community in Florida with a lot of activities that I occasionally. That's it.

  12. I don't like seeing televisions in every office I visit. They're almost always on Fox news. My parents thought we were strange for only having a TV in our basement family room where we didn't spend much time. It worked well for us.


  13. The TV's in waiting rooms around here are always set low volume wise which is better then blaring.
    My grandmother would turn the radio on as soon as she got up and it went all day till she turned it off before going to bed. I think that was better then having a tv going all day.


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