Think about your day. How much time do you spend sleeping? How much time do you spend eating, working, or exercising? Maybe you spend some time each day doing a hobby, or learning something new. Odds are, though, that everything you can think of that takes up time in your day, doesn’t add up to 24 hours. You probably have several unaccounted for hours that have seemingly gone missing. Do you want to know where they went?
It might be something called screen time. There are many apps that can track how much time you spend on your phone and what apps you spent that time on. It provided a rude awakening for many people when they learned they were averaging 5, 6, or even up to 8 hours on the phone. Every. Single. Day. People were ashamed of themselves for wasting so much of the day on their phone, but humans are so addicted to them that they aren’t able to curb their habits even when they try. These handheld magical devices have allowed us to connect with people from across the globe but have turned out to also make us less likely to connect with someone across the room. Why would we be more interested in our phones that in productivity and genuine human interaction? Because phones are made to be addicting. Your phone is filled with bright colours and movement. Human beings are wired to pay attention to those exact things. Think about it. Poisonous things are generally brightly coloured. It was evolutionarily advantageous for humans to notice bright things so they could keep their distance. Similarly, movement is something we’re extra aware of. Humans had to notice subtle movement in the leaves or across an expanse whether they were hunting, or being hunted. There is even ongoing research about a sixth sense, of sorts, that humans have. We can sense movement with our eyes, even without being able to see. In other words, our ability to sense movement is computed in a different area of our brain that the ability to sense light, what allows us to see the physical world around us.
There was a woman that took part in a study here at Western University that lost 100% of her vision after a head injury. Black was all she saw. You could hold a billboard in front of her face with a simple shape printed on it and she would not be able to tell you what the shape is, or that there is a billboard in front of her face. BUT, she could catch a ball. Isn’t that incredible? Though she can’t see anything, she can sense movement in a way not even she can describe. She can sense someone waving, trees going by on the highway, and a droplet of water dripping down a window. But she can’t even see herself in the mirror. Okay, I’ll bring it back from the tangent.
What I’m getting at is that the designers of our phones know what’s addicting, and put it in our phones so we use them more. More people using their phones more often is a winning equation for phone manufacturers, service providers, software developers, and any brand distributing advertisements via your phone. You are wired to be addicted to your phone; can you break yourself out of it? Do you even want to break yourself out of it? When you realize that the missing hours in your day have all been lost to your phone, maybe you might consider it. Consider all you could get done in those lost hours. Maybe you could sleep and extra couple hours every night, and you’d be far more productive throughout the day. Maybe you could learn something new! If you wanted to pick up guitar, playing guitar for three hours a day instead of scrolling through Instagram for a cumulative three hours a day would having you being very proficient at guitar in just a couple months.
Try mapping out your day. You might be surprised by what you find. Try cutting down your phone usage and see how your life changes, you might be surprised.