On a day to day average, I would say I spend probably 6 hours of the day staring at a screen. Whether it be my laptop, because duh web design is all online, or on my phone because social media is highly involved in what I do. Then of course, at the end of the day I’m checking my own social media, catching up on news, or watching Netflix. My eyes usually need a break.
And of course, while I’m consuming all this media, a girl has to have some background noise. Currently I’m loving my podcasts, If I’m not feeling podcasts, it’s whatever music I’m feeling that week. If I’m not listening to music, I’m usually taking a call from a client about their site or hopping on a video conference with my team.
Over-stimulated yet? Because I know I am.
Which leads me to my point, that sometimes, you’ve got to shut it all down.
Because of what I do all day, I try to make it a point to get some quiet time in. I try to read for an hour in the morning, but usually I take my dog out for a walk around the neighborhood with one rule.
No headphones, and cell phone must be on silent.
At the beginning, it killed me not to listen to anything while I walked. I didn’t like the quiet, but the longer I continue to work with media, the more I realize how much I need it.
We weren’t designed to be the multitaskers that we are. Yes, we can multitask, but that doesn’t mean we were supposed to.
I was listening to a Podcast from “The Real Life: with Jeff and Alyssa Bethke” and it talks about this obsession we have as a current culture with being efficient and productive. Jeff goes on to talk about how humans were not made to be this productive. Machines are productive. If you want get something done faster and more productive, you buy a product. Humans are messy, we make mistakes, and we are never going to be as efficient as the machines that we’ve created to help us become these mega multitaskers.
But still we try.
There’s a line in a Taylor Swift song that goes “I’ve never heard silence quite this loud,” meaning that we never know how much silence as to say, until we sit in it.
Silence seems to scare us because when it’s quiet we have to actually hear our own thoughts and emotions, and we might not like what we hear. We chose noise so that we can check ourselves out. That’s why we use our phones at the end of the day to see how everyone else is, rather than checking in on what's going on in the inside. It’s why we put music on in the background. No silence equals no self-realization.
So the point of these walks, is not to get caught up on another podcast or album. It’s not to see what all my friends are up to on social media. It’s not even for the purpose of getting a daily work out in.
It’s time for some silence.
I’ve started to realize that while media consumption does provide inspiration, it also just leads to system overload (see my last blog “The Grass is Never Greener” for more on that.)
We spend so much time absorbing all this extra noise that we never actually have any time to process it or do anything with it. It just clogs up space.
So by taking 20 or 30 minutes of my day to not consume any extra media than I already do, I give myself permission and the space to download.
This space gives me room to figure out what my next blog should be about. It give me time to reflect on how my prayers have been answered. It shows me areas in my life that need progress. The quiet, creates space that actually matters.
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. Exodus 14:14”
Being silent doesn’t mean being passive. It means reflection and self care. It means taking time for your brain to reset and refocus. The Lord will still be at work, if only you have the space for him to do so.
So the next time you find yourself in awkward silence, don’t let it be awkward.
Open a book, take a walk, and create some space.
What ways can you create some silence?
To express, explain, and exclaim the lessons life continually throws at me, and my take on how to deal.