My friend Elaine of The Miss Elaine-ous Life recently posed the question: how many hours do you think you spend online each day? My response was as follows:
Hard for me to say, a good solid two hours every night after the kids go to bed and periodically throughout the day… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, games, etc. All on my iPhone. Maybe five hours total?
When I read blogs or write or comment, it’s usually on my laptop and nowadays that is maybe five hours per week, if I’m lucky.
Just this week for the first time Lucas asked me point blank, “Mom, why are you on your phone all the time?” That stopped me in my tracks.
I was completely guessing and in all honesty really had no idea but felt it was too much.
I don’t work so I’m not in front of a computer all day and can’t seem to find the time to write very much anymore, but my phone is always within reach, on silent so I won’t react every time it makes a sound. I hate those people who hear a message alert that is not even their own and they grab their phone anyway.
I thought it would be interesting to time myself daily for one week to see exactly how much time I actually do
waste spend on my phone and I’m shocked at the results.
From Saturday, October 11 – Tuesday, October 21 each and every single time I used my phone or laptop, I started a stopwatch and at the end of the day, just before I fell asleep, I stopped it and captured a photo. Here are the results for nine days:
I timed everything I did: looking up directions, composing texts, phone calls, searching Google, reading blogs, reading and responding to e-mails, posting to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, taking photos, editing photos, creating notes, listening to podcasts while walking, playing games, EVERYTHING! On average I spend just over three hours on my phone per day.
Incidentally, there is a smartphone usage tracking app (of course) called Moment ($4.99 on the App Store) and the creator, Kevin Holesh designed it for the exact reasons I wanted the data. “Since it’s so difficult to convince ourselves to leave our smartphones alone, Holesh said he wants people to at least find a balance of “connected and disconnected” that’s right for them.
So often make excuses for the reasons we are online and the time it takes us away from our family and friends and what’s really important and all that time can really add up.
My goal was to track my usage for one week but I ended up doing it for 11 days because it was easy and I found it so interesting. It turns out that scrolling through my Facebook feed, posting a cute pic of my kids or playing my turn in Words With Friends doesn’t take nearly as long as I thought it did.
I wonder if my usage was reduced because I was aware of the experiment. I noticed I didn’t comment as much on Facebook, read as many articles or view as many YouTube videos.
The majority of phone time was late at night when I didn’t have anyone to attend to, when I should have been reading or writing (!) or talking to my husband, however, he is a lights out at 10 o’clock kind of person and I stay up until midnight almost every night. After we caught up and watched a show or two on TV, I turned to my phone. Perhaps I’d get a more restful sleep if I put my phone down.
I also timed my laptop usage, although during the 11 days I only used it once and for roughly an hour.
If you have ever wondered about your phone usage, I encourage you to try this challenge and please share your results. And relax, it’s probably not as much as you think!