I did something this week that gave me a sober and altogether unpleasant reality check.
I looked up my daily phone usage.
And by God, I’m horrified.
In just five business days, I’ve spent a whopping 20 hours on my phone, or an average of almost 4 hours per day. That’s half a work day, every single day, spent liking strangers’ photos on Instagram and sending memes to friends who live interstate.
Four. Hours. Per. Day.
This madness has got to stop.
My phone offered up all sorts of cheery breakdowns about where I spent most of the time too… the main culprits are Instagram, Telgram and Messaging.
I legitimately don’t know how I’m carving this time out of my life to spend on my phone.
There is SO MUCH I could be doing with this time – writing a book, spring cleaning my wardrobe. Hell, even just spending more actual present, quality time with family and friends.
If you want to be appalled – I mean, enlightened – about your own phone use habits, it’s easy to check. On my iPhone, I simply swiped left and a shortcut appeared, shamefully announcing my phone habits. If you don’t have the shortcut set up, you can go into Settings, then Screentime. Follow instructions for Android here.
Once you have the horrifying data in your hot little hands, it’s up to you to decide what to do about it.
Do you, A) bury your head in the sand, accept that everyone uses phones a lot these days and get on with it? Or do you B) want to change your digital habits?
If you answered A then good for you. I’m extremely jealous of your smug contentment over how much of your life you’re spending in front of a tiny screen.
If, like me, you felt ashamed and realised that you can’t preach about limiting screen time to your kids if you’re not walking the walk yourself, you can try this: go greyscale.
I just turned my entire phone grey and it looks… odd. Bland. Not appealing at all, really.
Bevil Conway, an investigator at the National Eye Institute, told the New York Times that phone apps are purposefully colourful and bright to put you “under a constant state of attentional recruitment. Your attentional system is constantly going, ‘Look look look over here.’”
By making it grey, your phone is suddenly less engaging. Social media less fun to swipe through. Messages no longer entice me to check them with an inviting, bright red orb. I’m aiming for 7 hours per week (one hour per day) on my phone or less. Wish me luck!