A while ago I came to the conclusion that I was attached to my phone more than I would like. A LOT more than I would like. I would compulsively check emails while I was out (even on weekends...when I get next to no important emails), I would spend hours scrolling on Instagram and Facebook…
Now, I know I’m not alone in this. At the cafe my husband and I frequent on weekend, I will often see table after table of people on their phones, totally ignoring their friends and family. I see people almost trip down stairs or walk into walls or steamroll other pedestrians because they’re glued to a screen.
Before you get your pitchfork ready, I DON’T think phones are a bad thing. But, like other technologies that I’ve been examining my relationship with recently (namely, social media) I’m wondering if I’ve these things have gone from being a benefit, to an addiction. I decided to gather some more information and downloaded an app called Moment onto my phone.
This app tracks phone usage and how many times a day you pick up your phone. This article states that people spend over four hours a day on their phones. Four. Hours. A. Day. That’s a crazy amount, even for people like me who do some work on their mobile device (i.e. running a social media account for a business.)
After being somewhat relieved to see I was quit a bit less than the average but still unhappy with my phone usage, I decided to make the following changes:
I used Moment to set a goal of 1 hour of phone usage a day. There are still many days when I go over this, but I figure resistance is a muscle and so I’m going to keep working at it.
I deleted mobile games off my phone. This was also a goal from my Digital Minimalism post.
I deleted most social media accounts from my phone (I’ve deleted my Twitter account entirely, and now only use Facebook on my laptop. Instagram is still on my phone.)
I rearranged the position of my apps and dropped “most addictive” apps into folders. I was surprised how much this stopped my mindlessly opening an app, when I added an extra step i.e. having to open a folder first. It was almost like the change of position of the app helped with resetting my behaviour.
I have all vibration notifications turned off, except for calls. Now, when I get a text or Whatsapp message, I’ll only notice if I look at my screen. Then I keep my phone screen down while I’m working. That way, if someone calls I’ll now but messages will only distract me when I chose to turn my phone over. Some days I put my phone in a drawer to help with this.
These are small changes that, together, have made a huge impact to how I use my phone. I think it’s important to think about how we use technology, and this has clearly been something on my mind a lot this year! I’ve got plans to reduce my phone usage even further (like keeping it in another room when I’m hanging out with my husband) but so far, I’m happy with how this experiment is going.