If you have a Facebook, you’re probably using your phone for at least 41 minutes per day. And that’s not counting the time you spend browsing other sites, texting people, and using apps like Snapchat and Twitter.
According to Google’s app Digital Wellbeing, I used to spend about 2.5 hours per day on my phone. But now, I spend less than 30 minutes each day.
Of these 30 minutes, less than 5 are spent on social media. The rest is spent writing ideas for blog posts, texting friends and family, and using utilities like Maps and Calculator.
Since installing Digital Wellbeing, I’ve mainly been surprised at two things: 1. a decrease in anxiety, and 2. that I’m much more productive.
I didn’t realize my phone was stressing me out. It was 11 PM when I first configured the app, and the color faded from my screen and illuminated the room in a dull amber glow. I felt like I did as a child – before I had a phone or any technology for that matter.
I love that the world is now connected, but I want to separate myself from time to time. I want to live my own life without constant reminders of others. And this is hard when we’re being pestered with notifications from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. According to Digital Wellbeing, I’d receive nearly 200 notifications per day and unlock my phone about 100 times. The app has decreased these by a little less than half.
I’m also more productive. Not only has Digital Wellbeing given me back 1.5 hours per day, but it also helps me stay in a flow state while I’m working which has doubled my productivity on certain days. Simply put, I can spend less time working and get more done.
In addition to Digital Wellbeing, I also wrote a small Chrome extension that completely blocks social media on my computer. Now, I can only access social media on my phone for an allotted amount of time per day: I set mine to 5 minutes per app.
You can install the Digital Wellbeing beta on any Android device running Pie 9.0 or higher. Once it’s installed, you can find it near the bottom of the main screen on your Settings app.
Here’s a breakdown of everything Digital Wellbeing gives you:
- A breakdown of the time you’ve spent on each app
- The number of times you’ve unlocked your phone
- The number of notifications you’ve received that day
- The ability to limit the time you spend on individual apps
- “Wind Down mode,” which I talk about below
Wind Down mode is a feature that helps you relax at the end of the day. It provides granular controls to alter the screen colors and stop notifications. For instance, my Wind Down eliminates blue light from my screen, makes everything black and white, and stops all notifications except calls from family.
Eliminating blue light helps people sleep better, and making everything black and white makes news feeds less addictive.
How to install Digital Wellbeing
You can install Digital Wellbeing on Android devices running Pie 9.0 or higher. I went to this page on Android’s website and then downloaded the application from the Google Play Store. Then, you can open your Settings app, and the Digital Wellbeing option will be listed towards the bottom.
If you have an iPhone, their app Screen Time will help you achieve a similar result.