Pre-post disclaimer: What you are about to read is extremely embarassing. Be gentle, dear reader, and try not to judge me…
A couple of weeks ago, Google Play (the android app store) decided to suggest that it was perhaps time for me to download an app to track my phone usage and monitor my ‘addition’
Addiction Smaddschmiction. I’m perfectly in control of my usage.
And you know what? The app totally agreed with me! ‘Average Daily Usage, 29min’. That’s an absolutely acceptable time to spend on your phone if you’re a busy working gal, isn’t it?
Except that I knew that the average usage time was nowhere near correct.
My commute is roughly 25min each way to my closest job and if I’m not squeezing in a Headspace session, I can easily spend that whole time on Instagram (yes, it does make me cower in shame to say aloud). Not to mention scrolling on a coffee break, phone calls with jobs, or the dozens of things that are clearly absolutely necessary over the course of a modern day (or not). I decided to find a second opinion on the matter, and downloaded Quality Time.
Day One – 4h 36min.
Yup, that sounds more like it.
FOUR HOURS AND THIRTY-SIX MINUTES.
I can’t even wrap my head around that figure. What was I doing all that time? Where did I even find four hours and thirty-six minutes? Even more confronting, looking through my usage for the day, there are only three instances where I was in the same app for more than six minutes. The rest of the time looks mostly like this:
Flicking through apps, over and over again. Does that sound familiar to anyone else?
How many times did I mindlessly open Fitbit to check on my steps, or Instagram to see what the rest of the world was doing? With the majority of those opens lasting just a matter of seconds, the answer is apparently – a ferdydurking lot. 349 times, to be exact.
Anecdotal evidence of social media use linking to depression aside (although if you feel that this is a problem for you, please don’t be shy to drop me a line or find someone you can talk to), those four hours every day are something that I’m mindlessly spending. I knew I was a heavy user, but I had no idea that the numbers would stack that high.
If the minutes of my life are like dollars, then it seems that social media has quickly become my Latte Factor. Across the week, my new frenemy was telling me that I spent 30 hours 46 minutes looking at my phone screen. I tried to take comfort in the fact that I had a number of long calls to make last week, but it appears that Quality Time is smart enough not to count those minutes beyond the time taken actually setting up the call. With that excuse ripped from me, it’s time to face that every one of those 30 hours is time that I mindlessly fed into a machine.
Don’t get me wrong with all of this- as I stated when I opened this box of worms, I get a huge amount of enjoyment from social media! I love talking to people and seeing what lives are like on the other side of the world. But do I spend all 30 hours a week connecting with followers? Or am I just mindlessly opening an app to ‘buffer’ my life for a moment? Methinks a lot of those hours went to the latter.
And so now I’m making a pledge!
Time to get this beast under control. For one week I am going to try and cut those mindless app opens in half. Every time I reach for my phone, I promise to check in with myself first to see why I’m opening that app. Is it really time to hang out with some followers, or do I just want to see how that latest post is doing?
Instead, I pledge to
- Reach for a book!
- Do some squats (might as well get some booty out of this!)
- Tidy one thing away
- Practice a language/an accent/an instrument!
- Message a friend
- Just close my eyes and breathe for a moment
And what about you? Is it your phone that’s sapping your time? Or perhaps you can lose your hours on the internet, or in front of the TV? If you looked objectively at those hours, what would you want to be doing instead?