Recently, I came across an app called “Moment”, an app developed by Kevin Holesh and mentioned in the book “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked” by Adam Alter. The Moment app measures the amount of time the screen of a smartphone is used for each day. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is reluctantly glued to their screen. Here are some of the best features I’ve come across while using the app.
1. Minute count reminders
Before I started using the app, I would wake up each morning before work and look at my phone before doing anything else. I’d browse Twitter, Facebook, and ESPN before putting my contacts in. Work and personal emails would be checked before I even arrived at the office. I was often spending an hour on my phone before 8 A.M. The Moment app gives you reminders every 15 minutes of how much time has been spent on the phone. This shows on the screen as a small notification, and when mindlessly wandering down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia or IMDB, serves as a good reminder to put the phone down for awhile.
2. Pickup Count
Not only does the app track the minutes and hours we use our phones each day, it counts the amount of times we pick our phones up. For instance, the highest amount of pickups I had on Friday was 86. This is way too many times to pick up my phone for someone who has a full time job and a wife and daughter. It’s helpful for me to see how many times I’m picking up my phone, so that if necessary, I can put it in a place where I can’t see it when I’m at home or in the office. And speaking of helpful….
3. Phone Bootcamp
This feature was a game changer for me. Each day in this bootcamp, the app gives one unique challenge which requires the user to put the phone down more regularly. The first challenge is to simply put the phone down for 30 straight minutes. Not too tough. But day two was much harder for me. The challenge was to sleep without your phone. I hadn’t done this since I had a smartphone. It was tremendously difficult the first few days, but now, I don’t wake up and look at my phone, for which I’m very grateful.
Other challenges included turning off notifications, (now I no longer compulsively check for new emails) simplifying the home screen to remove addictive apps (goodbye Bleacher Report and Instagram), and the most difficult step for any person who can’t put the phone down: going a whole day without using your phone. These goals, completed over a 14 day period, have helped not only in the moment (no pun intended), but they have allowed me to create better patterns so I’m not so addicted to my phone.
4. Reality vs. Expectation
Before I started using this app, I thought I used my phone for about an hour or two each day. According to Kevin Holesh, the creator of the app, that number is closer to four hours each day. That may not sound like a lot, but over a lifetime, it’s 11 years. This isn’t to be judgmental, but I believe we can use our time in a much more productive way. Realizing how much time we actually spend on our phones can help us put a practical plan in place to use our phones less. And then we achieve….
This what the app was designed for. Not to totally eliminate use of smartphones, but to use them less. In the last few weeks that I’ve been using the Moment app, I’ve used my phone for a significantly shorter amount of time each day. There have been weekends where I’ve only used my phone for 30 minutes a day, as opposed to the 2 to 3 hours I spent on it before. I’ve gotten back to reading a book each week (my favorite pastime) and I’ve gotten to write more. I would recommend this app to everyone, because it truly has helped me use my phone less. Thank you Kevin Holesh!
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