Fighting Phone Addiction

Last week, I quantified just how bad my phone addiction was: 3 hours and 5 minutes a day. One week later, here’s how that is changing…

If you didn’t take a look at last week’s update, it will help to check that out. But the gist of the story is this: Apple released an update that reports daily screen time, I see that I use my phone 3 hours and 5 minutes per day and particularly Twitter for 1 hour and 6 minutes a day, and I decide that neither one of those is acceptable and set targets to reduce them!

(As always, all visuals here are made in WeAchieve because if your productivity platform can’t do this for you, you are using the wrong productivity platform)

We’ll start with the headline: daily screen time has dropped from 3 hours and 5 minutes down to 1 hour and 52 mins, a 40% reduction, and well under my goal of 2 hours and 30 mins per day:

Total phone screen time (in hours) by day over the past two weeks.

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New Steps to Take on iPhone Addiction

If you feel like you are addicted to your iPhone, you probably are. Apple now provides a handy way to see just how many hours you spend. But using that data to live better is the next step. Here’s how to get started.

With the recent release of iOS 12, Apple now shares the time spent on your phone daily. For anyone who worries a bit about their phone usage and wants to reduce it, this is a huge boon. Saying, “yeah, I’m addicted to my phone” and saying “yeah, I picked up my phone 114 times and used it for a total of 3 hours and 27 minutes.” And yes, those numbers are real — that was my day upon seeing the screen time feature debut a week ago.

Having easy access to this data is great, and Apple also provides some tools for managing that, letting you browse the data and set limits by app. But for most people, setting limits is a non-starter. Perhaps it is human psychology, but creating artificial limits on oneself feels unnatural. And even if you do set one up, it’s often just an annoyance you remove the first time it comes into play.

We are only beginning to understand the impact of smartphones on our psychology.

Indeed, though Apple is making this data available to you and though they give you ways to control it, many early reviewers note that this changes nothing as the limits become annoying and eventually are turned off. It will be interesting to see if Apple shares any details on how overall usage changes, but we’d expect it to drive very little long-term change in user behavior.

But the problem is that a lot of us should change our behaviors! The average smartphone user picks up their phone 47 times per day, uses it for almost 3 hours per day, and spends an 75 minutes per day on social media (source). Merge that with recent studies linking phone usage to depression and suicide attempts in teens (source), and we can say that it’s pretty likely that your phone usage is negatively impacting your life.

The reality is that reducing screen time (or any habit) takes willpower and self-control, and that these are skills that are developed over time and ones that technology can, if used correctly, help develop. As a creator of a platform designed to build that, I am quite excited to use WeAchieve to start to reduce my phone usage. I am using it fairly uninhibited for the first week in order to get a baseline of behavior.

My phone usage in hours over the first week of tracking, with the 3h 6m average noted in black

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Achievement Oriented: A Running Story

As we launch, WeAchieve is sharing stories of goals both made and missed. If you have a story to share, let us know and we’ll be glad to share your story!

Running as a hobby is something that people either “get,” or they don’t. For the first 22-odd years of my life, I didn’t get it. As we went through college, I had good friends who would head out for runs, and the best I could manage was a “what are you going on a run for? You are going to end up right back here in an hour, except all tired and sweaty!”

Of course, this isn’t a story of not running. My running story begins when I was going on a trip with two friends. Prior to that, the two of them discussed my odds of taking up running, and I was given a 5% chance by one, and a 0% chance by the other. This was fair: I hadn’t run more than a couple miles in at least three years, and often balked at having to walk to the other side of campus. But social validation is a powerful motivator, and thus a running story was born.

It was the winter of 2009, and Pennsylvania was COLD. Perhaps the first step is the hardest — I geared up and stepped out the door, wondering what I was doing. “Trying to run” was an apt description, as I ran for a bit then was forced to walk time and again. Records indicate that I ran 2.5 miles in 24:29, but that definitely included many pauses to catch my breath. But I went out six of the next seven days, determined to give this a shot and prove my friends wrong.

My running log in the early days, almost 9 years ago!

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WeAchieve Open Beta Begins!

Great news everyone: WeAchieve is officially beginning our open beta phase on both our web platform and on our iOS app. That means you, yes you, can now use WeAchieve!!

To start, we’re offering a unified productivity platform: view all your data on the web or in the app, track all your goals, all your to-dos, compete in challenges with friends and family, all in a single place! We’re incredibly excited to start to get our platform out there and continue to build toward a platform that will make the whole world happier and more productive.

As you may expect, both platforms will still be changing pretty regularly as we respond to all initial feedback and continue to build toward our vision. So please be patient with us as we iron out some of the kinks. But anyone joining WeAchieve now will have access to the core platform for free for as long as they are on the site. Continue reading “WeAchieve Open Beta Begins!”

10 Ways to Set Better Goals

Setting goals has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Much of this is due to evolutions in corporate culture. In our workplaces, many companies have abused the concept of goal setting and KPIs by making them too narrow and too rigid. As a result, employees are forced to optimize to a single number often at the expense of better answers for the employee and the company.

That’s unfortunate, because goal planning can be really fun and empowering when it comes to your own life. Such goals come without all the baggage of a corporate environment, and many studies have confirmed what we should all intuit: setting goals is the best way to get things done and improve your long-term happiness. Continue reading “10 Ways to Set Better Goals”