I am the first to admit that I have an addictive personality. Like many people my age, I am addicted to my phone. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, and YouTube. When I became aware of the amount of time I spent on my phone and how much of my life it consumed, I downloaded the app QualityTime and began tracking my phone usage. I decided for a period of time, I would just let the app track my time. Everyday it gives me a summary of my daily activity and every week is tells me the total hours I spent on my phone and the division of time between the apps I used. After about two months of tracking my usage, I can definitely say I have some form of phone addiction.
In my move to a simpler life, I believe limiting phone usage is important and has the potential to directly impact my happiness. My current phone addiction does not fit in the lifestyle I am moving towards and I’m ready to take action.
I tracked my phone addiction for eight weeks. Below are the total hours I spent on my phone each week and the app I spent the most time on.
12 hours 33 minutes.
Most used app : Pinterest, 5 hours 3 minutes
24 hours 21 minutes.
Most used app: Pinterest, 9 hours 44 minutes
37 hours 12 minutes.
Most used app: Pinterest, 11 hours 26 minutes
37 hours 56 minutes.
Most used app: Pinterest, 9 hours 47 minutes
31 hours 20 minutes.
Most used app: Pinterest, 9 hours 37 minutes
37 hours 14 minutes.
Most used app: Pinterest 16 hours 15 minutes
44 hours 16 minutes.
Most used app: Pinterest, 13 hours 33 minutes
34 hours 9 minutes.
Most used app: Tumblr, 7 hours 29 minutes
These are screenshots for the week of August 5th (week Seven).
During week seven, I spent 44 hours and 16 minutes using my phone. That’s more than a full time job!
There was a period in my life where I did not have a cell phone like my friends did. I got my first smartphone six months after my 18th birthday, much later than all of my friends. In retrospect I was much better off without one. I read and I played more.
When I had my first smart phone, I used to be able to set my phone down and forget about it for hours. I could set my phone in a bag on silent and not dig it out until the next day. The thing that really gets me about phone addiction, is that I know that when I set my phone down for hours at a time, that I wasn’t missing anything. I’m still not missing anything, but I insist on unlocking my phone hundreds of times a day anyways.
This goes without saying, that a lot of my used apps are text messages. I also read a lot of blogs that I find on pinterest, which contributes to the amount of time I spend on pinterest, regardless, I could spend a lot less time staring at my phone. I’m done making excuses for my phone addiction and ready to face it head on.
So what am I going to do about it?
There are lists of suggestions for breaking phone addictions everywhere. Often they have similar or the same information. Some sources suggest keeping your phone on silent throughout the day and just to live in the now , to not go to bed or wake up with your phone, and to keep your phone out of reach.
Another source says to turn off notifications, to use your phone on a schedule, make your phone ugly to stare at and remove distracting apps from your home screen.
Some of these seem doable to me, others not so much. I wouldn’t be at this point in my phone addiction if I could just live in the now and if keeping my phone silent worked.
What I plan to do will take three weeks. I don’t want to implement rules all at once because I know myself well enough to know that I would get burned out and give up as soon as I begin.
My goal: to spend less than a hour a day on my phone.
Right now: Delete problem apps from my phone
Week one: My phone does not go to bed with me.
Week two: Phone ban between the 8 pm and 8 am.
Week three: No using my phone while doing other things (eating, watching tv, writing)
Stick around for the next three weeks, I will be posting updates on this challenge along with my regularly scheduled blog posts each week!