My Screen Time Is WAY UP! Is this a bad thing?

It’s day 37 of self-isolation. For me, it hasn’t been too hard since I retired last September and had already found a new normal enjoying my home, my painting studio and the constant companionship of my husband, Matt.

But there’s something very different about this time now. I used to grab my keys and go out to meet friends and family for dinner and happy hour, artist gatherings at shows and other social events. Now, my husband and I are focused on doing our part to Stay Home in the hope we can encourage others to do the same to flatten the curve.

And yes, my screen time is WAY UP! My phone tells me I am I’m averaging 3 hours a day. And this is only my phone….I have no idea how much time I’m spending on my laptop.

” WHAT?”, you say. This sounds like a really bad thing. Well, I’ve been thinking about how I have been using this time and thought I would share my insights. I encourage you to do the same. Maybe this is the beginning of our “New Normal” and I think it’s pretty great!!

For those of you who know me, you know I spent the last 35 years of my life working at IBM. Technology is no stranger to me. I recall the countless number of years we spent promoting Videoconferencing from our partners. It was catching on but face to face meetings were still preferred. Today, ZOOM, a popular free service for individuals is taking off like wildfire. CNBC reported on February 26th that Zoom added 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020, while all of 2019 they added 1.99 million users. That was February, you can imagine what it is today!

I don’t know about you, but Zoom is now part of my daily life! I’m using it to stay connected to my family, my art community and my friends.

Classrooms are using it for remote teaching. Not every student has the technology to participate. If you have used laptops or desktops laying around, reach out to your local community to find out how you can put them in the hands of students less fortunate. In the Phoenix area, you can contact Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology.

Small businesses, like my friends at Brix Wines, used it recently to stream a socially distant live concert to raise money to feed the doctors and nurses at our local Mayo Clinic. They collaborated with Wandering Donkey, another local favorite food truck to prepare and deliver the to the hospital. They raised enough money to feed a hot meal to 75 front line healthcare workers. Bravo Brix for your innovation and kindness!

Speaking of music, did you catch the One World: Together at Home broadcast dedicated to front line healthcare workers around the globe? Thanks to Global Citizen, The World Health Organization and Lady Gaga for organizing and for the many major corporate sponsors, like IBM who made it happen. My personal thank you to all the essential workers out there who are allowing us to stay safe, keeping us healthy and fed!

Another of my favorite online resources, even before Covid-19 struck, is YouTube. You can find just about anything there, from DIY video tutorials to craft and painting instruction and now my favorite, “Some Good News” with John Krasinski!! Each week he brings good news of acts of kindness from around the globe! Definitely worth watching.

If you’re still wondering how you can help, consider donating to your local food bank, shelter or your neighbor in need. Support your local small businesses. As many of us know, the PPP program didn’t go quite where they intended it and our small businesses need your help. Find them online, buy gift cards, place take-out food orders and “like, comment” and “share” their posts on Facebook and Instagram.

I’m especially fond of a creative local group who is using their own digital resources to support small businesses. Many offer online sales, shipping and delivery. You can find all these unique businesses listed

Support the arts! This is an especially hard time for the visual and performing arts organizations as their normal venue is face to face. If you have a favorite, make a donation, however small, will be very appreciated. Don’t forget the individual artists who make their living selling their art. You can find some of my favorite artist friends on my website at under the tab, “Artist Friends’ Gallery”. You can also find consumer grade (NOT MEDICAL GRADE) face masks from my artist friend,

Judith Rhue and myself. We both appreciate your business very much!

Lastly, don’t fret about your screen time. There is something very different about this time now. Focus on self-care, keep moving if you can and stay socially connected! We’ll get through this and I’m sure we will have discovered a BETTER, NEW normal!

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