Let’s kick-off our series on using technology intentionally with an inventory. To better understand how you use technology, over the next few days, focus on observing how you feel when you go online and use social media, and how often you are online. To start, after you go online or social media, check in with how you feel. Did make you happier or more productive? After you surf online for a few minutes or check in with your Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram account, how do you feel? Refreshed? Connected? Frantic? Anxious? Less productive?
Next, take some time to inventory how frequently you are going online. A quick look on social media can spiral into a much longer session than anticipated, and at the end, rather than feeling productive you may feel more stressed out because of lost time.
I thought I was a relatively ‘light’ user of social media, but after a few days of tracking my actual use, I was surprised at how much time I was actually spending scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest. And, although the first few minutes scrolling through were energizing, I found that after that initial boost, my energy flat-lined and I ended up just feeling a little numb after about 10 minutes.
There are some good resources to help you track your use. Moment is a screen time tracker for your iPhone that allows you to see how much time you are spending on your phone and where you visit (note that the app is free to download, but Moment Premium is $3.99). For Android users, Frequency will allow you to track app usage. RealizD is a screen-time tracker for both IOS and Android that will allow you to see how many times you picked up your phone and provides personalized insights on your phone habits. You can also set custom limits on your phone use and check your family’s screen time as well (The free version provides limited usage, and with full individual functionality at $2.99. Monitoring family use is a subscription service at $11.99/year or $3.99/3 months).
But, you don’t have to use fancy apps to do an inventory. For the next day or so, just set the timer on your phone (see–phones are helpful tools!) when you start to surf or jump on social media and keep track of the time overall. Just spend two days to get a better understanding of how often you are online and how you feel as a good starting place to understand how to use technology more intentionally.