From Sunday 2/12/2017 to Saturday 2/18/2017, I tracked my media consumption with RescueTime on my laptop, RescueTime on my phone, and logging time by hand.
This is how RescueTime and my discrete hand-logged records claim I spent my time:
However, my own logs showed the real picture. With my laptop, a second monitor at home, my phone, and countless apps, I’m constantly multitasking, or at the very least, switching between activities.
I send my friends excerpts from news articles as I read, providing (unasked for) running commentary. I run Netflix in the background as I plan out my day in Google Calendar on my second monitor. I read a case for class, and WhatsApp notifications pop up on my phone, so of course I check them.
While listening to music on my phone and walking to class, I scroll through Facebook, see an interesting article posted by someone I vaguely remember from summer camp a decade ago, Gchat the link to my friend from college, and start chatting about it, continuing throughout the day.
I originally thought this would be a lesson about distractions and lack of depth in media consumption, but it’s instead about the discussions. Over the last year, I was oddly proud of myself for actively trying to see other perspectives by actively clicking on Facebook links posted by people with different ideologies. But that isn’t sufficient — there’s a difference between simply consuming information and being immersed in discussion about that information.