Confession: I am addicted to my cell phone. I’ve been in denial, but it became apparent to me the other day when talking with my sisters. We were wondering why we don’t have time to do anything anymore. I was reminiscing about how I used to journal almost daily. Now I don’t journal for months at a time. I used to read, EXCESSIVELY. But I couldn’t tell you the last time I finished a book. I used to do all kinds of crafty projects. But now when I think of breaking out the hot glue gun, just the thought exhausts me.
So what changed? Where did all the time go?? That’s when it dawned on me – my cell phone. Everything changed when I sold my soul and bought a smart phone. Suddenly, I had the whole world at my fingertips – wherever and whenever I wanted!
Now, I can’t watch TV or eat breakfast without it in my hand. I can’t have a conversation without compulsively unlocking my screen. Any downtime I have, I instinctively whip out my phone. I feel naked and isolated without it. It has become an extension of me, another body part.
And not only has my phone been robbing me of the hobbies I used to love, I believe it has also been responsible for causing feelings of depression and inadequacy. Our culture has created the acronym “FOMO,” which stands for “fear of missing out.” We now know what everyone else is doing at any given moment (or at least what they want us to see), and it stirs up feelings of jealousy and bitterness. We constantly compare ourselves to others online and end up feeling inferior.
Realizing all of this scared the bejesus out of me. When had I started letting this device control me? I knew I needed to start looking up and living my life again instead of looking down at my screen and living someone else’s. So I’m making it my goal this new year to start limiting the time I spend on my cell phone.
Accomplishing My Goal
To help me, I’m using a cell phone app (I know, ironic 😬) called SPACE (you can download it here). The app tracks how much time you spend on your phone as well as how many times you unlock it. I’ve been using it over the last couple of days without trying to change my habits, and I’ve found that I’ve been on my phone sometimes over 100 minutes a day. Even more surprising, I’ve been unlocking my phone more than 80 times a day!
To make a goal achievable, it’s important to first quantify the objective. Here are four measurable targets I hope to meet in 2018:
- Spend less than 60 minutes a day on my phone.
- Unlock my phone no more than 30 times a day.
- Read at least one book a month.
- Journal at least once weekly.
Check back here monthly – I’ll be updating my post with how it’s going! Also, I’d love to hear your own New Year’s goals or if you too are going to commit to spending less time on your device – so be sure to comment below!
Note: if you decide to use the SPACE app, make sure you pause the app while streaming music or using navigation. I’ve also found that if you have the app open while charging your phone, it will sometimes track that as minutes used, so exit out of the app to get a more accurate read of time spent on your phone.