A recent UK study found that people on average check their phones 150 times a day. 150! On average, people are checking 23 times a day for messaging, 22 times for voice calls, and 18 times to get the time. Not to mention mindlessly scrolling through emails and social media. It’s almost mind-boggling to consider how much time that wastes, and how automatically we do these things without any real awareness.
Time Saver #10: Get conscious about how you use your phone (and how it uses you). Some people have found a huge improvement in their productivity (and general mental well-being) by choosing to reduce the number of functions they want their phone to serve.
Instead of being the hub of many different activities — phone calls, texts, TV shows, social media, gossip, web surfing, camera, emails, checking weather forecasts — they just pick a few important things and use the phone as an essential tool to complete those things. For example, imagine the relief from obsessive email checking you could experience (and the time you could save) if you only checked email on your computer and not on your phone. How much time could you save if you took a couple of social media apps off your phone today?
When calls come in, only answer your phone when you can talk. Only answer your phone when you can deal with what might be needed to be dealt with on the other end. If it’s urgent, they’ll call back or send a follow-up text. Remember the days of answering machines? People can still do that! They can leave a voicemail and you can get back to them when you’re done doing what matters most to you.
Practice being in charge of your phone instead of having it control you. You don’t have to respond like Pavlov’s dogs to every chime and buzz and ding. Yes, it’s an amazing tool — but we’ve gotten accustomed to thinking that everything is urgent when in reality, very few things really are. Could you dedicate 15 minutes to cultivating awareness around how you use your phone? What could that 15 minutes ultimately get you? Think of it this way: Even if each of those 150 checks only takes 30 seconds (and you know many of them take much longer), that’s still 75 minutes every single day. What could you do with that much liberated time?