It's Monday. Which means it's now officially Day One of Technology Triage Week. You'll remember that last Thursday, knowing that my phone use would be a little janky and un-representative of my typical use for a few days, I downloaded Moment and allowed it 1) to know my location, and 2) to send me notifications. The early download was meant to give me a more robust baseline data set. I predicted that I picked up my phone forty (40) times per day, and that I would be on it for about two hours a day.
I was worried that time on Strava would count toward my overall use. This would have made a dent, since I did some Dirty Kanza training with my son over the weekend:
Strava thankfully doesn't count. That's a relief.
I was also relieved to see that podcasts don't seem to add to any time on the device. I get them for free. Yay! Even though they might not be good for me, either!
As you can see, I came in well below my projected time:
Catherine Price, the author of How to Break Up with your Phone, told me not to change my behavior, but to just be myself and gather data. That did not happen. I gathered data. But I gathered data that I suspect radically underestimates my true phone usage. In other words, these numbers come with a big, big asterisk: I started seeing changes in my behavior about a nanosecond after activating the app. Anyone who says that adding a tracker to their phone doesn't change habits is lying. This is Hawthorne Effect, big-time. Saturday I was at the library to check out a book, and I was actually hesitant to look in my phone's password app to log into the library's card catalog because I didn't want to add to my phone time on Moment. I thought I needed to disable whatever the feature is on my phone that causes it to turn on when I move it because it makes me self-conscious to see the screen light up when I take it out of my pocket to put it on the charger. Where I used to just stick my phone in my pocket and not pay attention to whether the motion detector had turned it back on, now I quickly tap the button to turn it off, and I confirm a dark screen before I put it away. But then I figured out that the screen lighting up like that doesn't seem to add to my Moment minutes. Whew.
I was even nervous even going into the Moment app to get the screenshot above. I didn't want to inflate my time. You want to see what's under those "Insights" and "Coach" tabs? So do I. All I can tell is that I'm checking my phone about 25 times a day. But there's no way I'm swiping around the app, wasting my hard-earned phone time on that junk when I could be reading Andrew Tillin's account of how cycling saved him during a marriage separation.
Which leads me to neurotic point number two (or higher; I've honestly lost count): here I sit, tapping out this blog post without (much) guilt while my phone is several feet away from me, dark. I'm afraid I'm just shunting phone time into computer time. In the last couple days I feel like I'm spending more time on the computer since I'm self-consciously avoiding my phone. I almost need a separate chrome extension to track how much time I'm spending on my home and office computers. In other words, it's not just my phone that's a problem for me. I have a problem with screens in general. And I don't know how to track my home computer use since my kids use my home computer to do schoolwork and watch TV. Argh.
But maybe all this faulty data represents progress. After all, I wasn't worried about Big Brother Moment judging me before Thursday, and I undoubtedly used my phone more then (I'm guessing my real baseline data easily doubles what I'm recording now). So if my mental health holds up, maybe I'm doing something right. I guess. Maybe. I don't know.
Tomorrow is Day 2 (Tuesday): Assess your current relationship. It's time to come clean to my phone and tell it how I really feel.