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Do you limit your mobile screen time?

dzhavat profile image Dzhavat Ushev ・2 min read

It’s Friday and I don’t really feel writing a technical post, so lets talk about tracking mobile screen time :)

As a developer I spend a lot of time staring at screens throughout the day. Big part of it, of course, is due to my profession but I also stay on my laptop to work on side projects, read articles, watch videos, etc.

And then there’s my phone. It’s quite easy to take it out of the pocket to quickly check out Twitter, Dev.to, of course, or my email even though I’ve already done that 5 min ago.

I’ve been using the Digital Wellbeing app to keep track of my mobile screen time. Here’s a screenshot I made earlier today:

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As you can see, I’ve unlocked the phone 42 times already. I woke up around 06:00 today so that’s almost 4 times per hour or once every 15 min.

These days I’m spending between 2 and 3 hours a day on my phone. I think that’s quite a lot. Up until a month ago, I was spending not more than 1:15-30 hours on average.

Some of the strategies that I have for limiting the screen time are:

  • I’ve set up an app limit to 40 min (currently) per day on Chrome. After that time, Chrome gets blocked and I can’t really open it unless I go and manually extend the time from the settings. Why Chrome? Because I’m using Twitter’s PWA app, which I’ve saved from Chrome. When I open it, the time there counts against Chrome. That’s where I spend most of my time.
  • I’ve also set up a so called “Wind Down” timer from 21:00 to 07:00 on the next day, which turns my screen gray. This hasn’t prevented me from using the phone less. It just annoys people when they try to look at it because the colors are not there :D

I would really like to cut some of the time. Maybe reduce it down to an hour. The data for how much I use the phone is there, an app that lets me block other apps is there but I miss the will power.

So, do you keep track of how much time you spend on your phone? Do you limit that time? If you do, what strategies are you using?

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dzhavat profile

Dzhavat Ushev

@dzhavat

Front-end developer trying to make useful stuff.

Discussion

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I need to start working on this, and what i've found is that deleting the distractions is very helpful. I also recently started using a minimalist launcher, Before, that filters notifications (only shows me ones from my text messages and phone calls, and you can edit that), and only shows a handful of apps. There's no search functionality, so it discourages me from opening something that might be distracting. I also like TUI for the same reason.

Ultimately, games are a distraction. Yes, you can limit when you play them, but I also found that it's not just a minute here or there, but ends up taking away time you wanted to do something else (even if that's 10 minutes, we have all been in scenarios where that 10 minutes is the difference between doing something productive, and trying to waste 5 minutes before needing to be somewhere else.

the new Focus mode on android is also really good for the same reason, although I wish they made it so that once you turned it on it wouldn't turn off until x amount of time has passed.

 

I'm limiting my screen time too, but do not use an APP for it. I just remember what amount of time I've spent so far from morning. Another strategy I use is limiting the apps I use. For example I do not install all messengers on my phone, I just a limited count of them.

 

You know that actually you DON'T have a problem with using mobile devices, but you have problems with having not enough interactions with other people/things. For me - I don't even want to measure this. On typical work day I have at least 2 full hours, otherwise I could watch other people in the public transport which is much less interesting than daily dev.to and twitter stream.
Ask yourself what you could do in the moment you use the phone and why you are choosing the phone.