I have a fear that one day I’ll receive a report for the amount of hours I’ve spent browsing the web aimlessly while I should have been reading a good book.
When I was a kid — it feels weird to write that — I pulled a similar report from my World of Warcraft account and the amount of time I’d spent logged in was so absolutely unbelievable I desperately wanted to believe it was an error.
The realization was in fact so painful to me I suspect it made me forget the exact hour count, as I can’t for the life of me remember it. Even scarier is that I know the time I’ve spent aimlessly browsing the web over the years far exceeds the days and days I logged playing WoW.
The time just flies by and suddenly minutes turn to hours which turn to days which turns to months all the things you wanted to do were left undone. You need a constant reminder to do otherwise.
In Ancient Rome, for example, it is said that during a Triumph, a general would have an Auriga whispering in his ears “Memento homo” (remember you are (only) a man) to avoid that the excess of celebration could lead the celebrated commander to lose his sense of proportions.
Likewise, Herodotus tells us the Persian King Darius had a slave whisper “remember the Athenians” in his ears at dinner so that he never forgot his anger for their route of his forces at the Battle of Marathon.
Of course, it would be weird in today’s age to hire a person to whisper in your ear, but think I’m going to place reminders on my phone, computer, and workspaces that regularly tell me “close your damn computer and read.”
If you consciously cut just 30 minutes from your screen time every day to just read 25 pages from a book, you could read nearly 10,000 pages a year.
That’s 182.5 hours a year of reading books, or 7.6 full days. Wouldn’t that be a nice report to pull on your habits one day?
Close your damn computer and read.