Ditch the social media squares and learn a new skill for £500 a month

April 19, 2021
June 26, 2023
Knowledge Sharing

As social media continues to become an ever-present part of our lives, it’s easy to take for granted just how much time we spend looking at our screens and the impact it can have on our wider life.

Sometimes hours can pass before we realise we’ve fallen into a deep dark scrolling hole, and our evening, lunch break or train ride commute has come and gone with nothing productive to show for it.

So, we decided to look into how much time we now spend on social media, after a year where most other things were put on pause, to get a better idea of what the opportunity cost is of our growing scrolling habits.

We collected 1,000 adults’ screen time data, which revealed that the average adult now spends 58 minutes a day on Instagram, 49 minutes on Facebook and 34 minutes on Twitter. We decided to highlight what can be achieved with these precious minutes, when they’re applied to something more productive than scrolling and double-tapping.

Learn a new skill in the time you’d spend scrolling

We need the public’s help to do this however, which is why we’re recruiting 3 members of the public to become our very first ‘Study Contractors’ in a paid job role.

Their main objective will be to discover what level of skill an average person can attain in three months, if they replace Instagram with learning. To be specific, if they replace that average 58 minutes a day with 58 minutes of learning.

To those of us who have been trying to reduce social media use but have struggled with motivation or an incentive, this might seem like the dream job, and we’re pleased to disclose that there is no catch. The successful candidates will be able to work remotely and choose what skills they learn, as long as it’s not something they’ve studied before.

This could be a new language, a musical instrument, coding or a creative hobby like sculpting. We’ll also be providing the newly recruited team members with the resources and tools they need to study in their chosen skill, for example, a guitar and a weekly virtual music lesson – should a candidate select musical training. (The value of these resources and tools is capped and will be discussed with the Study Contractor after they have selected their chosen skill)

Each candidate will be expected to submit weekly reports on their progress and experience to their line manager. At the end of the three months, the Study Contractors will need to present their new skill, so our education consultants can determine what level they have managed to attain from 58 minutes of ‘study’ or ‘practice’ a day.


  • Remote working
  • £500/month during a 3 month fixed contract
  • Flexible working hours
  • Get paid to learn something new!

The ideal candidate will be:

  • 18 years old or older
  • A self-starter
  • Ambitious and eager to learn
  • Active on Instagram (we will verify this with screen time data)

And that’s literally it. We encourage anyone and everyone to apply who meets the above criteria! The closing date is 7th May and we will be looking for our contractors to start on Monday 24th May.

If you’ve been desperately trying to find the time to learn something new, and have come to resent your daily Instagram habit, please apply for the position using the form below:

The hired candidates will be required to sign a contract stipulating they are abstaining from Instagram use during the employment contract and will instead dedicate that time to learning.

Nelson Sivalingam, CEO and Co-Founder of HowNow, said:

“When the UK’s first lockdown was announced a little over a year ago, it seemed inevitable that people would turn to their phones, tablets and consoles and see their screen time shoot up. And Instagram scrolling has probably been one of the biggest offenders in that sense. However, with restrictions easing, now might be the time to focus our energy on something more productive.

“At HowNow our goal has always been to make learning in the workplace more fun and engaging. However, it doesn’t matter how fun something is if you don’t make time for it, and I think we can all agree that social media can feel like a time parasite. You hear a lot about the ‘10,000 hours’ theory, but we want to really put it to the test, and see just how proficient someone can get at a new hobby if they stop scrolling for just three months.”