Fighting Phone Addiction

Last week, I quantified just how bad my phone addiction was: 3 hours and 5 minutes a day. One week later, here’s how that is changing…

If you didn’t take a look at last week’s update, it will help to check that out. But the gist of the story is this: Apple released an update that reports daily screen time, I see that I use my phone 3 hours and 5 minutes per day and particularly Twitter for 1 hour and 6 minutes a day, and I decide that neither one of those is acceptable and set targets to reduce them!

(As always, all visuals here are made in WeAchieve because if your productivity platform can’t do this for you, you are using the wrong productivity platform)

We’ll start with the headline: daily screen time has dropped from 3 hours and 5 minutes down to 1 hour and 52 mins, a 40% reduction, and well under my goal of 2 hours and 30 mins per day:

Total phone screen time (in hours) by day over the past two weeks.

I’m even happier though with my Twitter reduction. I’ll let you figure out where the goals were put into place based on this chart:

In fact, my Twitter reduction was so successful that I decided to adjust my daily target from 30 mins to 20, with a plan to drop it to 15 minutes next week. This type of adjusted target is really helpful both to build in a gradual (and thus more feasible) plan for improvement, as well as to keep the difficulty level at a threshold where the goal is always relevant.

Lastly, total phone pickups. Before setting goals, I averaged 99 pickups per day. This translates to about once every 10 minutes, which is quite honestly appalling. This has been a tougher one to reduce, but I am currently averaging 65 pickups since the start (a 34% reduction, and now once every 15 mins) and am on track to reach my goal of keeping that under 70 per day for the rest of October.

My average daily phone pickups since setting the goals.

This approach of tracking a target and quantifying progress is valuable because it is the only way to know whether or not you improve. Without that, we all run the risk of delusion: selling ourselves a story of improvement when none actually exists.

Stepping back from the numbers, I’ve found a lot of value so far in reducing my screen time. If nothing else, I at least ask myself “what am I using my phone for” before mindlessly swiping it open. I’m leaving it at my desk rather than at my bedside at night, and keep it out of sight during the workday. I can’t say for sure whether this all has made me “happier,” but the effects seem positive so far!

Where does this all end? I’m not sure. Obviously I don’t want to take my screen time to zero, but I’d like to reach a steady-state of phone usage that is probably still below where I am today. I think it’d be great to get that down to just one hour a day. I’ll also refine what measurements I care about: there are valuable things I do on the phone, and it seems silly to count time spent learning chess or learning a second language against my screen time totals. Also, given my minimal use of Facebook and LinkedIn, I probably don’t need to track those on their own and may use an aggregate “social networking” time instead.

Have you taken a look at your screen time with the new iOS update? Have a desire to reduce it? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.

Want to learn more about how WeAchieve can help you reduce your bad habits? Check out our website, download our app, and give it a try for yourself!