I had a stark realization last week about how I spend my time. I believe this realization will make a huge impact on my productivity and results. Not only did I realize how my time was being used, I have a tool and tips for you to improve. Keep reading for more!
Subjective knowledge is good and when we know or feel something it usually helps us. But objective knowledge makes an impact. Objective facts and numbers make an impact by externally proving what you feel or think you know. You can’t just skim over objective facts and dismiss them without consequences. Typically, I have a lot of subjective feelings and thoughts but they never play out to objective facts and provable results. Last week, I moved from subjective to objective in how and when I use my iPhone. I felt like I used my phone a lot. I bet I would find similar feelings if I asked you as well. Are you comfortable with the level of your “device time?” I knew that I had a lot of time dedicated to my phone but the results were crazy.
I took my subjective feelings of use on my phone and used a tool to move to objectivity. Moment is an app for iPhones that tracks the time and apps you use on your phone. Check it out here, inthemoment.io, or try QualityTime for Android. Yes, this is scary. Scary to think of something tracking your time and scary to think of how much and what you spend your time on. Moment is pretty upfront about what they track, how and why. Location services has to be on and you have to authorize the app on your phone. At a basic level, Moment will tell you how much time you spent on your phone and how many times you pick it up. To get added detail, you can take a screenshot of your battery usage to see insights into what apps you are using.
I installed Moment on a Thursday and my first few days looked like this:
Friday: 201 minutes/62 pickups
Saturday: 174 minutes/56 pickups
Sunday: 112 minutes/30 pickups
Monday: 240 minutes/63 pickups
Monday, after spending 4 hours on my phone, I decided it was time to change. I set a goal for myself to reduce the amount of time I use my phone and the number of times I pick it up. There are some variables because I do use my phone for talking and messaging but I don’t do that for 4 hours everyday. So now that I had some objective facts about my phone usage it was time to improve upon that.
This past week, I have reduced my phone usage and also reduced the number of times I pick it up. The pickups help because I may need to use my phone, but I know it is for a purpose and I am not just picking it up to glance at news or notifications. I took social media apps off my phone so I am no longer tempted to look at them. Facebook, Twitter, and other apps serve a purpose and are useful, but my time and priorities are spent quite well if I wait to look at them from my laptop when I have time.
Here are a few things I’ve used to reduce my time and distraction with my iPhone. If this discussion makes you uncomfortable or nervous, just pick one to do this week and work to improve as you go.
- Uninstall social media and other distracting apps, or at least move them from your main screen. Before deleting them, I moved social media to inside a folder and moved the folder away from my main screen. Not seeing the apps regularly helped me stay away from them.
- Install Moment app. Track your time, set limits (on the paid version), and get objective information.
- Use airplane mode and Do Not Disturb during dedicated work times.
- Turn off notifications and put your phone out of sight/earshot. For most of us, we don’t have to respond to emergencies every minute of every day.
- Don’t pick up your phone first thing in the morning… Use a traditional clock/alarm to wake up. If you can delay your first look at your phone then it will help set the tone for the rest of your day.
- Wear a dumb watch: Know what time it is without looking at your phone. I believe in this for other reasons, but a smart watch will negate number 4 above.
I’ve reduced my time on my phone every day. I am down to 1.5 to 2 hours, rather than the 3-4 hours I was engaged before. Now I can use that extra time to focus on my goals and engage with the people in my life. I can guarantee that reducing the amount of time on your phone will not be easy, but the benefits will be great and well worth the effort. Let me know how it goes!