Newsletter #9 - Reducing My Phone Time

Hello everyone,

I hope you are doing great and enjoying some nice spring weather! In Gothenburg, you can now feel summer on the doorstep and I love the fact that it is still light as I am writing this at 22:00 (would have preferred better preparation but oh well...). This week I am going to write about a common challenge in today's world, spending too much time on your phone. We all walk around with an insanely powerful computer in our pockets all day and it is often helpful, however, there are also downsides. Many of us spend an increasing amount of hours a week looking at our phones. You can find my stats below and I used my phone for more than 21 hours last week. That is half a workweek and slightly insane to me…

Screenshot of the author's weekyl screen time on his phone
The important takeaway for me was the 21+ hours I spent on my phone last week in the bottom corner

Inspiration for this post

I have thought a lot about cutting my screen time for the last few years but a video (which you can find below) by Makari Espe mostly inspired this post. I came across her video on YouTube recently where she and her dad decided to cut down on their screen time by leveraging information on how to do it from this newsletter about how to lower your screen time by The Guardian. I signed up after watching the video and also shared it with my girlfriend as we have discussed the challenge of lowering our screen time before.

Video by Makari Espe on how to lower screen time

After having signed up for the newsletter I checked my weekly screen time on my phone to see what my starting point was. The second step was to ensure that you have an alarm clock ready so that you don’t have to bring your phone with you into the bedroom, luckily I had bought one for an earlier experiment to lower my screen time. The guide kicked off today and the first steps were to choose a wallpaper that makes you think before unlocking your phone and then to set a goal for why you are doing this, I will share my goals below and keep you updated on my progress in the future.

A second inspiration for this experiment was the fact that I am reading the book The Anxious Generation by Jonathan Haidt for my book club currently. The topic of the book is how social media have come to create a mental health crisis in many people in Generation Z and investigates how this can be avoided for future generations. There is unfortunately a clear correlation between social media usage in the puberty years and increasing suicide rates and mental health problems. This also made me reconsider how much time I spend on my phone.

The Anxious Generation Out Now. Order the Book.
From New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Coddling of the American Mind, an essential investigation into the collapse of youth mental health—and a plan for a healthier, freer childhood

This is the book we are reading in my book club currently

What I would like to do more of instead

There is so much you could do with that additional time and that is why I have decided to try and lower the time I spend on my phone to hopefully do things I value more such as:

  • Reading - I run a weekly book club and also enjoy reading books on the side of that so I would like to up the amount I am reading each week so I don’t feel rushed to read right before my book club meetings for instance.
  • Writing - I love writing here in my newsletter and blog, yet I still sometimes struggle to spend the time to write. Having a daily time window to write would be a good start here I think.
  • Programming - I think programming and coding in general is fun, but it is also something that requires consistent practice I find. I why would love to actually spend the time and level up my programming skills so and build more small side projects. I have earlier written about my experience of learning to code but I struggle with the consistency.

Going forward

My initial goal is to get down to below 1 hour per day at first. That would mean an additional 2 hours per day which I could spend on things like reading or writing more. If any of you decide to join me on this journey towards less screen time or have any tips I would love to hear from you! Just reply to this email.

All the best and have a great week!