Our smartphones keep us connected with the world and we couldn’t imagine life without them – but what are the costs of spending so much time on our phone? Find out why you MUST put down your phone now!
This post came about after I downloaded the new Apple IOS a few weeks ago which came with screen time tracking. I thought to myself ‘Yea sure I love to analyse things so I’ll sign up to that’. Well was I in for a shock! 1 week later when I read my first Screen Time report, I was horrified at the fact that I averaged 2 hours and 39 minutes per day on my i-phone. 2 hours and 39 minutes of my life, every day, spent staring at my phone? Not to mention that it said I was picking up my phone 68 times per day. This was crazy and I couldn’t believe that I was so indulged in my phone. I was so amazed that I had to see why I spent so much time on the phone and what I could do about it..
Just letting you all know – I work a full time office job which takes up about 40 hours per week, I don’t check my phone while I am at work, and when I come home I usually cook dinner, watch a movie and hang out with friends. I thought my weekends were also pretty active as well, spending time socialising or keeping busy. There is no way that I would have considered myself a compulsive Snapchat or insta user and was genuinely surprised that an average person spends that much time on their phone.
Your Smartphone is ruling your life
Ok the first thing I learnt is that I am spending way too much time on my phone (obviously). I mean, when we were growing up and had dreams and things we wanted to do for fun, I am sure that staring at a phone for a large chunk of our spare time was not one of them! Sure it is great to see what everyone else is up to, but do we really need to scroll through social media and check every 4 hours to see what people have achieved since lunchtime? Couldn’t we check daily, every few days or even weekly? (Yea sure!)
If you have an i-phone with the latest IOS (Ok I am sure other smartphones have screen tracking already), check out your usage and see what you think. Take note to yourself how many times you go on per day. Are you replying to messages or are you just mindlessly scrolling? Are you being productive or are you just killing time? I couldn’t believe how much time I was killing but happy to know that there is something I can do about it..
You are missing out on life
Our lives are a finite amount of time that we need to make the most of. Yea sure I sound like an old man here, but think about when you are on your death bed… Are you going to say that you were happy that you got to see your best friends-cousins-friends (who you never met before) wedding photos on Facebook? Or that you stalked that guys insta page before you ever even spoke to him? I hope not! We are going to remember the good times with family, friends, going out and having fun with whatever it is we like to do. Not time chilling on our smartphone.
Not only does killing time on the phone waste our lives, but it also makes us unproductive. It takes me a few minutes to get back into a task whenever I am distracted (which happens often hah), so every time I pick up my phone and ‘kill time’, it sets me back in whatever I was doing – which effectively uses even more time!
Tinder, Bumble and Everything else is wasting your time!
Ok some of you already know my thoughts on Tinder and why it is bad for your love life and mental health… But the fact is that 98% of the people we talk to on these dating apps are wasting our time. Why are you spending so much time getting validation from the opposite sex (guys its usually through sex and girls its usually through knowing that someone is interested – stereotyping I know but hey it is what it is – check out the post for more).
Aren’t you tired of the endless swiping? The mundane chatter of how your weekend was? Sure we still might use these apps (guilty) but maybe we can be more efficient with how we use them and cut out a lot of the crap.
What can we do? Part I – Track and Limit Your Smartphone Usage
Ok I have had my little rant and now it’s time to find out what we can do. Part I for me was tracking my usage (thanks Apple for giving me something else to think about haha) and then trying to limit it. I am not going to say it was easy; in fact it was actually a challenge which I am still battling with – but like any challenge I believe that being aware of it is one of the hardest parts. Now that I am aware I can start to limit my usage. A few strategies that I am playing around with at the moment include;
- Only checking my phone at certain times of the day (TRYING to aim for morning, lunch and after dinner)
- Putting a time limit as to how much time I can spend on my phone each time I use it
- Cutting out some of the crap, time-wasting, time-killing and thoughtless minutes I spend on my phone
- Maybe you have some better ideas that you can comment below?
What Can We Do? Part II – Find (and Plan) Other Things To Do
This one can apply to anything in life. If you can find something else to keep you busy, there is a good chance that you are not going to think about what you are missing out on (quitting smoking, breaking up with someone, the loss of a loved one). For me, spending time on my phone is just something that I do to kill the time (and a lot of it). We always complain that there is not enough time in the day – well yea sure, if you spend nearly 3 hours on your phone then that is going to make you feel like you have no time! Sometimes I find it a challenge to find time to meditate or practice yoga, and now I can say, ‘well just cut out an hour of phone time and there you go’. I think that a lot of the phone time we spend is due to not having something directly planned. If you are home with nothing to do – then do a workout, put on a movie, read a book, call a friend (ironically using your phone) or do something else fun. If you have it planned and you committed to it in your mind, then it is going to happen. Otherwise you will just continue to scroll and waste your time, just like I have!
Time to Put Down That Smartphone!
I didn’t want to sound like my life has been ruined by my smartphone, but I have to admit that I was surprised that I was spending so much time on there. I do understating that it would be easy just to delete some of the apps, but to be honest I don’t want to delete Facebook or remove myself from social media; all I want to do is spend less time glued to my phone and more time living. If you agree, then put a plan in place to help limit your smart phone usage and thank me later for the extra hour (or hours) in each day that I have given you 😛
About the author – Stef – Positive Living and Mental Health Advocate
Stef is a positive living and mental health advocate who dedicates much of his free time to improving his own and others mental health. Never miss a post by subscribing to the blog for free. Just pop your email address into the form on this page to sign up!