Yes, there are many remarkable pros to our mobile phones, but I can’t help wondering about the cons and how much time we are actually spending on our phones. Time on your phone happens in short bursts all through the day, but these moments add up quickly.
In my online hunt for clarity on how much time I spend on my phone, I completed this quick Buzzfeed quiz. I was a bit sceptical on the accuracy so I then downloaded StayFree – an app which monitors the time you spend on your phone. My results from the quiz and average daily phone usage from the app were aligned for the most part – give or take 10 minutes. Over the last week I averaged 2h 15 minutes per day – which is just under 16 hours a week, 67 hours a month and 810 hours a year – I.E. 34 DAYS PER YEAR. That’s a lot of valuable time! Especially because this total doesn’t include the hours I spend on my laptop, nor watching Netflix.
The negative effects span beyond just wasted time in that it can disrupt our real-life social interactions and affect our mental and physical well-being. I know that if I am away from my phone for a few hours, I immediately feel calmer and more grounded. Here are some ways to find a balance with technology:
- Understand your phone usage. Getting a better understanding of your phone use is the first step toward improving your digital well-being. Download Space to help you change your phone habits and consciously connect.
- Using an app (e.g. Freedom) to set boundaries using time limits for certain apps and sites can help you to not scroll the day away.
- Initiate space from your phone at night by limiting use before going to sleep or leaving it in another room. This can help you feel more relaxed and to sleep better.
- Create device-free zones and times. Select times of the day or spaces in your home to be device-free. Keeping your phone in a central place can reduce the urge to check notifications.
- Try single-tasking. Improve your focus by reducing the screens around you, using just the one that helps you achieve a single task at a time.
I’m challenging myself to get my daily phone time down to an hour a day. Are you up to the challenge too?