I got my first iPhone when the 4 came out. In the three years since, I’ve become addicted to my iPhone. I crave being constantly connected to everything and I’m anxious when I’m not. I like being able to check my email, tweet this picture of my meal, or answer the text from my sister from anywhere in the world.
I knew that as soon as I got my iPhone, I would have a tough time letting go. Once I was connected, I couldn’t ever be disconnected. It was a one-way street that I knowlingly went down.
So I did what I do best. I came up with a solution.
I named my iPhone “Walden” to be ironic.
That didn’t help much.
Fast forward to a year ago…
I moved into a 2-bedroom apartment with my high school sweetheart and got engaged. Our evenings were filled with unpacking, hanging pictures, and cooking meals together. All was good.
As we settled in to our new lives together, our evenings got progressively lazier. We’d only take a two block walk with our dogs and we’d have a movie queued up before we even microwaved leftovers for dinner. We would sign off our work computers at 6pm and immediately wander into the living room and open up our iPhones. Bring on the distractions.
Relaxing meant whipping out our iPhones and catching up on the latest happenings in social media. Her drug of choice is Instagram. Mine is Twitter. We stopped doing fun and productive things and chose the path of least resistance.
I’m picking on the iPhone right now, but it could be any device. A laptop. An iPad. For me, it is always my iPhone.
About six months ago, I realized I had a serious problem. I was addicted to my phone, exactly like I predicted when I first waded into these always-connected waters. I felt naked if my phone wasn’t weighing down my right pocket.
That’s when I decided to build a real solution. I’m an iOS developer and knew there was something that could be done.
I built Moment to help nudge me in the right direction by automatically tracking my daily iPhone use and giving me a warning when I’m on it for too long. When I first started using Moment, I was spending 75 minutes on my phone every single day. I currently have my daily limit set to 40 minutes, so after 40 minutes on my iPhone for the day, I get an annoying buzzer telling me to look away from the glowing box in my hands. That’s a good amount of time for me right now.
I knew I wasn’t going to smash my iPhone with a hammer in protest and then go live in the woods to find myself. My goal was to find a balance of connected and disconnected that was right for me. Moment has helped me gain another 35 minutes every day to take my dogs for a hike or do a quick workout instead of mindlessly scrolling through Twitter. Moment is helping me find that balance.
Moment was released to the App Store today, and I’ve been using it for the past few months. It’s helped bring awareness to how much time I spend just being distracted. I’ve made improvements, but my addiction is definitely not gone. As I wrote this article, I checked Facebook twice, answered a text, and checked a news site.
I’m still addicted to being distracted. I can’t stand to be bored.
But since using Moment, I’m starting to crave time without my iPhone now. I enjoy plugging Walden into my dock in my office and leaving it there for the night. Texts and SnapChats be damned!
It’s no wonder why I have all of my great thoughts in the shower. I can’t bring my iPhone in there…yet.