The first thing we need to do is to be aware of how we spend our time. Without awareness, you cannot measure it. Without measuring, you cannot analyse it. And without analysis, you cannot amend it.
So, as a pre-exercise routine, you would need to perform a few tasks:
- Commitment – The first step to achieve anything is firm commitment to the cause. This is an addiction – the only way to get rid of it, and get back control, is to commit to making a change. Link this commitment to a reward – a small treat once you achieve your milestones.
- Set up a screen-time option on your phone. iOS (the iPhone) has this option in settings, and you can download the Digital Wellbeing app for Android devices.
Measure this for a week, without making any changes to your screen usage. Then, go to the screen time feature and see your results. I have discussed the iPhone-related options here, but am sure that the Android equivalent would have the same categories.
You will be shocked to see how much time you actually spend on your phone. Pay special attention to:
- Your average screen time per day – that is the time you spend looking at your phone. I’ve had people coming back with 6-7 hour screen times per day – thats nearly half your waking life spent looking at a phone, excluding the other devices (laptops, television, iPads) that you may have…
- Your ‘Most Used’ apps – This shows which app you are addicted to the most. Chances are that Instagram and the browser will share the top spot.
- Categories – All apps are grouped into categories. For instance – WhatsApp, Instagram, FB etc., come under Social Networking. Notes, Voice Memos, Hubspot (CRM), email, calendar apps come under Productivity, Books, Wikipedia and information sites come under Reading & Reference. Am sure that your Social Networking group would win hands down in these stats, since most people use their phones primarily for social apps.
- Pickups – this is interesting. It shows how many times you picked up the phone. I’ve seen scores above 200…per day! Also pay attention to the ‘First Used after Pickup‘ stats. This is the app you picked the phone up for, mostly because you got a related notification. Can also be the app you check for updates frequently.
Now that you have seen the extent of the problem, let’s get down to the solution.