I Was Going to Do Great Things But I Got a Smartphone Instead

Accurate Rendering of Smartphone by Small ChildI recently bought a new phone, a phablet, if you will. More specifically, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

At no point in history has a person been more excited about a purchase. For several weeks before it was to come out, I researched the specs and compared it to other devices. The television commercials for it made me drool like one of Pavlov’s dogs. The anticipated release date was changed three times but finnnalllly arrived. Without a doubt, I put less fanfare into buying my home. The whole family celebrated “Mommy Gets Her New Phone Day” with party hats and a piñata.

The Note 4 is living up to the hype; this phone does EVERYTHING. Well, except laundry. (Not to worry though, that feature is coming with the next software update.) I’m writing this article on my phone while talking to my sister on my phone and I just got a notification that it’s my turn in Words With Friends…On my phone. It can keep track of my steps, measure my heart rate, track my food intake, and I bet if I held it the right way, it would exercise for me. It knows where I’m going before I do. The capabilities of this thing are mind-blowing.

But here’s the rub…

While my new phone is undoubtedly my favorite possession right now, it is also the biggest time suck in all the land.

I found an app that will track how much you use your phone and because I’m curious like a kitten I downloaded it. (Google Play Store: Phone Usage Time)

Here are some embarrassing statistics:

  • In one 7 day period (I think they call that a week), I was on my phone for 23 hours, 11 minutes, and 28 seconds. That’s right – I lost an entire day to my phone.
  • I spent 7 hours, 26 minutes, and 23 seconds on Facebook.
  • I played Trivia Crack for 2 hours, 53 minutes, and 34 seconds.
  • For 1 hour, 19 minutes, and 45 seconds, I was on Pinterest.  Mostly pinning funny memes about how busy I am.
  • I can’t really explain why but I spent 14 minutes and 13 seconds in the alarm clock app.
  • Finally, I spent a grand total of 8 seconds in the health app and just 2 measly seconds in the word processing app.  I would like to take this opportunity to point out that the deciding factors in choosing this phone were the health and word processing capabilities it possessed. “This thing is going to improve your health AND productivity,” they said.

Do you have any idea how many books I haven’t read since I got my new phone? How many games of Candy Land I haven’t played with my kids? Or how many times I complained about not having time to exercise?

Let’s look at what I did accomplish during my ENTIRE DAY on my smartphone:

  • I learned that my spirit animal is the yak. Clearly, I needed to know this. Click here to find out what your spirit animal is. Or don’t, because seriously, what would you do with this information?
  • I kicked my husband’s butt at Trivia Crack, not once but twice. No one can take that from me. No one.
  • I found out that I am most like the character Monica Gellar-Bing from Friends. Click here so you too can affirm something you already figured out back in 1994.
  • I saw that the recipe for sweet potato hash I pinned was repinned 34 times and liked 12.
  • I’ve confirmed that Justin Timberlake is my celebrity boyfriend. Find yours here.
  • I found some old school Paddington Bear cartoons that my girls sort of liked for a minute before returning to their regularly scheduled wrestling match.

It seems that I might have a problem with online personality quizzes. But who doesn’t these days? I’m going to make up a quiz that determines if you are addicted to online quizzes.

     Question 1: Do you like to waste time answering arbitrary questions about yourself

a) Yes, daily.

b) Only on Tuesdays.

c) Never.

d) Are you kidding me with this?

Not that the yak thing hasn’t opened the door to great personal growth, but there are nine or ten thousand more productive ways I could have used that 23 hours, 11 minutes, and 28 seconds I will never get back. Here are a few:

  • Any of the four gazillion projects and recipes I’ve pinned on Pinterest.
  • All the exercises.
  • Take down the Christmas tree.  Put it back up and take it down again.
  • Knit several tiny sweaters for the woodland creatures that live in the woods behind our house.
  • Clean stuff.
  • Create a healthy eating meal plan to cover every day for the next 17 years.
  • Read an entire book. Maybe two.
  • Write a dissertation on the mating practices of the American Beaver.
  • Catch up on work.
  • Catch up on laundry.
  • Catch up on everything.

There is nothing in my life I couldn’t get caught up on in 24 hours. Yet, as I type this, I’m sitting next to a mountain of laundry, I’m behind at work, there are dishes in the sink, the Christmas tree is still up, and I’ve got four-inch stack of papers on the kitchen table that need to be signed, sorted, mailed, or filed. I’d get started on all of that, but I need to check Facebook. It’s been like three or four whole minutes since the last time.

Do I regret buying this phone? No. Is it ruining my life? Not yet. Should I be grounded from it for several weeks until I learn my lesson? Perhaps. But since I’m the mom around here, that won’t be happening.

Having a smartphone does have its advantages:

  • I can get pictures of the kids from my daycare provider during the day which gives me a tiny glimpse of their world when I’m not with them.
  • Waiting rooms and long lines have more appeal with Candy Crush Level 789 waiting for you on your device.
  • How else would I be able to let everyone know I’m at Starbucks enjoying a Double Tall Soy Latte while I’m at Starbucks enjoying a Double Tall Soy Latte?
  • The Jimmy John’s App. Because sometimes making a phone call is just too hard.

Now that I know how quickly my time can be swyped away, I am paying more attention to how I use this precious commodity. No more online personality quizzes, but I’ve set up the wellness app to track all sorts of health stuff. I’ll limit how much pinning I do but will freely use the e-reader app. I’ll save online games for waiting rooms and long car trips and challenge the girls to a Chutes and Ladders tournament at home.

For now, though, I’m going check to see if anyone has created an app that will take down this pesky Christmas tree. That would be smart!


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