How Addicted to your Smartphone are you?

Nicky Cullen
Jan 29, 2018 · 5 min read

According to Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, the majority of us spend almost 4 hours a day on our smartphones. That’s a quarter of our waking lives! Think about that for a minute while I check my phone…


For the record, I think technology is amazing and can absolutely enrich our lives, but you can’t deny there’s a deadly, more sinister side to it that hooks us in, and makes addicts of us all.

In 2010, Steve Jobs, a man who many idolize, took to the stage and described the iPad as the most wonderful fucking device known to man — one that will enhance every aspect of your life — including education.

Several months later when asked how much his kids love the iPad, Jobs blurted out that the iPad isn’t allowed in his home because he recognizes just how dangerous and addictive it is. To be fair, he paid a crapload of people a shit tonne of money to ensure this was the case — so he’d have to be some thick prick to not recognize just how damaging it can be. Steve knew the cardinal rule — never get high on your own supply.

I know I’m an addict. This bastard has me by the balls, but now more than ever, I’m determined to taper my usage.

Actual drugs are way more fun — or so I’ve been told!

That was my little joke. Not really. I’ve experimented — they’re way less addictive for a start. With all we now know, I think it’s important to evaluate your smartphone usage and habits so you can substitute them for healthier ones.


Usually time. So let’s run a quick mathematical formula to see how much time you could potentially spend on your phone over a lifetime. Shall we?

4 hours per day on your smartphone equates to roughly 11 years over a lifetime. E L E V E N fucking years! That’s way beyond a Jesus Christ — for that we must call upon Mary, Joseph, and the entire crew!

Think just how RIDICULOUS that is for a minute…

‘I just got a new follower on Medium, and 3 new likes on Instagram — wahooo!’

Back to it. Now imagine looking back on your deathbed knowing, for a fact, your most meaningful and intimate relationship was with your phone? It’s no wonder people queued for a week to get in line for the iPhone X — at least they don’t have commitment issues!


Because behind every screen, you’re up against roughly 1,000 behavioral psychologists and programming geniuses who know exactly how to capture your mind — and you can be damn sure they’re exercising their right — like it or loathe it — to do so. These strangers know you better than you know yourself.

That’s just how it is. You can’t go to war with the bastards, but you can exercise your right to limit exposure and engage in more activities that will enrich your life. As a sidenote: my articles aren’t addictive and will most definitely enrich your life so be sure to subscribe and listen to all I have to say!


If you have an iPhone, you can check precisely how much time you spent on your apps over the past week.

Brace yourself. Here’s how…

Go to settings >> battery >> Last 7 Days >> click the little clock to right, and be prepared to scare the crap out of yourself.

Below, I am reluctantly sharing a screenshot of mine.


  • Skype — 7.8hrs. All work. No problem.
  • Facebook — 3.4 hrs. It’s nice to have a look on occasion, especially when taking a dump, but for the most part, this isn’t productive — it’s destructive.
  • Messenger — 4.1hrs. It’s those stupid groups. Sometimes I feel I’m being stripped of my soul, and when I try to leave, there’s always that one friend that won’t let me leave because they know how much it pisses me off. Besides that, I clearly talk some amount of shit.
  • Music. Technically I’m not on my phone for this, and music most definitely enriches my life — so piss off!
  • Instagram — 2.9hrs. My least favorite app. I watch stories of my friend’s dogs who pretend their dogs are actually on Instagram. I’m not sure it’s altogether necessary! Mind you, @kookslams and @jerryoftheday are absolutely necessary!
  • Home & Lock Screen — 4.7 hrs. What does that even mean?
  • Mail — 2.3hrs. An audit is required for this.
  • Whatsapp — 1.8hrs. At least an hour of this is spent watching wildly inappropriate videos. They’re awesome. Or equally horrific. I have some sick friends.

Let’s not forget these bastards are all available on my computer. And that’s where I spend most my time.

You can see how it all adds up. The mind doesn’t need this much stimulation. It can’t handle it, and the consequences to our health can be severe.

All i’ll say is, consider your smartphone usage and how it may be negatively impacting your life. Assign specific times for checking email, social media, etc. And be diligent in your management of this. Get an alarm clock and remove the phone from your bedroom. Get a dumb phone if needs be. Spend more time with friends and when you’re with them, have everyone put their phone away and assign a punishment for the first to falter.

Finally, I reiterate, not all technology is bad. It’s bad when it plays an active roll in a negative mind state or preventing you from achieving your goals or going after them in the first place. The temptation is real. The odds are against you — don’t let them defeat you. And be sure to follow me and subscribe to my mailing list, because as I mentioned my dear stranger, my only aim to enrich your life!

Care to share your worst phone habits in the comments below?


If anxiety is something you struggle with, subscribe below for free access to the anti-anxiety micro-course for greater peace of mind and a better life. I’ll also fire a copy of my book your way!

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Thanks for reading :)

The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

Nicky Cullen

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A lot of people struggle greatly with anxiety. I used to be one of them. Now I help others fast-track their recovery. Find out more @

The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.