Do You Feel You’re Spending Too Much Time on Your Smartphone?

Do You Feel You’re Spending Too Much Time on Your Smartphone? post image

Over the holidays, some of my friends expressed they felt they were spending too much time on their phones. One said “I used to read more books. Now that time is evaporating into my iPhone.”

The same sentiment has been shared in many of the annual round-up posts in the blogosphere. I even know a few people who’ve gotten rid of their smartphone altogether.

I considered it as well, but I’m not quite ready to go back to an old Nokia. Sure, I’ve wasted a bunch of time on the phone, but it’s also given me Podcasts and Audible, two apps I don’t want to live without.

Is there a middle ground?

Earlier this month, I simplified my phone by putting the apps that move my life in positive directions into the bottom rail. From the front page I can phone a friend, read a book, or listen to a podcast. I deleted applications that I consider time-wasters or that have a neutral or negative affect on me. All remaining apps I put into a folder called “with intention.”

I googled around for “simple smartphone wallpapers” or “motivational smartphone wallpapers” and found some that work.









If you’re feeling aggressive, most phones allow you to restrict access to certain applications to a time limit or altogether.

Of course you can still get around the barriers you set for yourself, but I found the process of thinking through each app to be fun and valuable. And plus it’s something to do, ya know, when you’re sitting around staring at your phone.

Are you worried about the amount of time you spend on your phone?


PS, we’ve got some great new remote jobs this week over at Dynamite Jobs.

Published on 02.23.18
  • Seán Feehan

    When going for drinks or food with family and friends we’ve restricted the group to one phone.
    Improves interaction!

  • that’s interesting I’ve never heard of something like that.

  • Broke my phone snowboarding last Friday and went without one for ~ a week.

    The first two days were crazy because you don’t realize how obsessed you are with this piece of technology.

    Without a phone, you’re alone with your own thoughts. Nothing is interjecting whether it’s an email, social media update, news, music etc.

    After a few days it was calm and awesome. Felt happier even though I looked like a total noob with my laptop at the gym so I could listen to music.

    Now that my phone is back, I only kept a few vital apps and removed all of my email / slack / twitter etc.

    Feeling better than ever!

    edit: vital apps = spotify, uber, uber eats, sonos, google maps, audible, alaska airlines and… the NYT crossword :)

  • Every group setting should implement that.

  • Very truthfully, I believe screen addiction is one of the biggest risks to society/humanity long term because it decreases empathy. Not sure how long it will take, but I do think we’ll see a big shift away from screens at a much broader societal level… but it’s going to take a catastrophe to prompt a “movement” to happen.

  • I do that too in my friendship group. It does improve the interaction and keeps the conversation flowing. I try to keep my real personal life offline even though my work as Pacific Diva requires me to always be on social media.

  • Seán Feehan

    Definitely. Smart phones for smart people. Otherwise people tend to lose creativity and problem solving by taking the easy option of checking their phone

  • haha didn’t peg you as a crossworder! :) i tossed my phone away for the weekend was great!

  • hadn’t thought of that

  • Cool to hear that I’m not the only person who moved both the Audible and the Kindle app onto their home screen. I’ve found it helps me read more books, even with social media apps still on my phone.

    This is more extreme, but I have a few friends who experimented with changed their smartphone to grayscale to spend less time on their phone. The time they do spend using it is less enjoyable. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for anyone who is a designer or like taking good photos, but it is probably a very effective way to spend less time on your phone without going back to the Nokia brick phone or Razr days.

  • that’s interesting. I’m all about being more proactive with our tech. I remember the quote that Taylor Pearson relayed to me “we’ll be the first generation remembered by what we said no to” something along the lines that it’s more important than ever to be focused and choose your tools wisely.

  • I’ve tried this in the past: everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table and first person to touch theirs pays the lunch bill ; )

  • i think this is a game i would be good at :D

  • Interesting. I think smartphones are both the greatest productivity tool as well as the greatest source of distraction. It is all a matter of how you use this device.

  • Seán Feehan

    Brilliant twist! makes it competitive and thrifty ha

  • Seán Feehan

    Similar to many things in life i guess. Just like food – too much of anything is bad-ish for you.
    A healthy balance and knowing what works for you. Like haha how quick your metabolism is could be like your concentration levels or how well you can drop and leave an app without procrastinating too much.

  • Audible is the one app I also keep my smartphone for. That and gps. I haven’t had a phone plan for two years now, I’ve turned off pretty much all inbound notifications when I have wifi and my phone never goes off silent. It’s a perk of being unemployed and more or less unaccountable to the world but I wouldn’t want to go back to a more connected smartphone. Not having internet on my phone all the time has made my internet usage more intentional.

  • This. 100% this. Going in to reorganize my phone as we speak.

  • Ben Bowen

    I often think about how strange it would be if we behaved the same way we behave with our phone in other ways. For example, it seems normal – though maybe a little rude – to check our phone during a conversation. But it would be extremely strange – and really rude – to say “mind if I pause our discussion to daydream about my favourite sports team”?

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