As somebody who quite likes the internet and seeing things online, I’ve had periods of time when I certainly wasted too much time scrolling – especially on my phone.
By now, I’m quite happy with how I spend my time on my phone. My screentime average is about 2-3 hours per day. While this may sound like a lot, I’m not spending this time mindlessly scrolling. Instead, most of my phone screentime is spent on the app of my gym (I log my reps and weights in my training program app), the audiobooks app, Spotify (for listening to podcasts or music), and Google maps (because I have no sense of orientation).
My only vice at the moment is Instagram. I’m spending a bit more time on the app than I’d like, especially in the evening when I’m tired and actually should be cleaning up the kitchen.
All in all though, I’m quite happy how I’m using my phone as a tool, rather than something to distract me. Here are some changes I’ve noticed over the years:
- I’m just not that interested in social media anymore. Twitter got musked, Facebook is dead. I like Instagram, but the community is not the same as Twitter used to be when I was a PhD candidate. LinkedIn is OK for keeping up to date of my colleagues, but it is not really fun. I also decided for myself that I’m not joining a new network. I didn’t join Snapchat when it was a thing, I only dabble in Clubhouse but never really understood it, I don’t do TikTok and I haven’t gone to Mastodon. I’m just not interested in these new venues. Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe social media has become just too $$$-oriented to be fun and I’ve been put off by it too much.
- I have my hands full: As a mom of an energetic child, a lot of my afternoon and evening time is spoken for. I also don’t want to model bad behavior to her, so I don’t want her to see me scrolling all the time (even though sometimes I’m reading work email on my phone and tell her I’m doing something for work – a habit I’m now ditching as I’ve disabled work email from my phone; but stuff still comes in through Whatsapp), and I don’t want phone at my dinner table.
- My days are full too: I run from meetings to teaching to other meetings, so I really don’t have much time during the day to be faffing around. I don’t have long stretches of time to myself for my research. And when I do, I’m so happy I get to focus good that I, well, put my nose down and get a truckload of work done.
- I’d rather relax doing something else. I’d rather play the piano or cello, or work on my crochet or knitting, or write, than be scrolling on my phone. I get much more relaxation out of my hobbies in the precious little time I have left for them, that I’m not tempted to get lost in a scrollhole.
How are you spending your time on your phone? Has this changed over the recent years?