What would you do with an extra 28 days? Would you go on vacation to the Caribbean? Would you learn a new language? How about start a blog or learn an instrument?
With 28 days, you could accomplish so much. Time is something people value greatly. We are always left wanting more, yet we spend most of our lives wasting it.
Here are four simple things in your life that, if eliminated, will add 28 days to your life every year. Every one of them has one thing in common: your smartphone.
1. When We Wake Up
According to this study, 80 percent of us reach for our phones within 15 minutes of waking up. What do you think we do after that? Put it back down?
Not a chance. With the allure of social media, most of us go to Facebook, YikYak, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates. Then, we have to send that classic "Just woke up" or "Good morning"' Snapchat to everyone. Check out pages 31 and 32 of this study to see how activity is increased when we wake up.
Based on the information on smartphone usage, most of us probably spend more than 15 minutes in the morning accessing time wasters. For the point of this post, we will keep that number at 15 minutes.
2. When We Go To The Bathroom
Check out this blog post from The New York Times. A huge portion of the population won't go to the bathroom unless they have their smartphones with them. According to this article by John Rampton in Inc., 61 percent of us check our smartphones in the bathroom.
A whopping 92 percent of social media users check Facebook. Combine that with games, access to other social media and online shopping, and now that person has spent an extra 20 minutes in the bathroom. For our purposes, we will assume that people who bring their cell phones into the bathroom with them spend an extra 20 minutes in the bathroom.
3. When We Are Waiting
We've all been there. You are waiting for someone to text you or for someone to arrive at lunch. You just don't want to look stupid, so you whip out your phone and pretend to get a message.
With 52 percent of us checking our smartphones multiple times an hour, not all of that time is productive. If you are a student, most of that time is spent on social media or reading random articles that looked interesting.
You know how it works. Your friend sends you a funny link through text or Facebook, then you get sucked in to the social media sinkhole and before you know it, it's been 20 minutes.
For the purpose of this article, we will assume that 60 minutes a day go toward this. That could mean for four different hours of the day you spend 15 minutes on your smartphone, or five minutes every hour for 12 hours. However it is distributed, the number we will assume is 60 minutes.
4. When We Go To Bed
Just like the morning, we end our night checking what we missed and say goodnight to everyone. Our fear of missing out keeps us awake and checking what everyone else was up to. My old roommate used to check out 9gag for 30 minutes to an hour every night before he slept.
According to CMO Council, 64 percent of all smartphone users check their phones 15 minutes prior to sleeping. I imagine this number would be much higher for people age 18 to 24. For our purposes, we will assume that the 15 minutes before bed are spent looking at a smartphone.
The 15 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the bathroom, 60 minutes waiting around and 15 minutes before bed equals an extra 110 minutes a day towards your smartphone. This is an accurate estimate as the calculated amount of time we spend on our smartphones is between 90 minutes a day and 151 minutes a day.
If we calculate this out, this time is equal to 12.8 hours a week, 55 hours a month or 27.88 days a year that we have spent casually spending time on our smartphones. So, what can you do to stop the time thief?
1. Get an analog alarm clock.
You are much more likely to go on social media, etc. if your smartphone is also your alarm clock.
2. Leave your smartphone somewhere else.
The next time you go to the bathroom, leave your smartphone somewhere else. This way, you will avoid the temptation to use it and spend an extra 20 minutes in the bathroom.
3. Don't "kill time."
This phrase should be completely eliminated from your vocabulary. The next time you have to wait for someone, bring a book. Do something that will further your goals in life. Whatever you do, do not just "kill time."
4. Let go of your fear of missing out.
Send your few goodnight text messages at least 15 minutes before getting into bed. There are tons of research articles that tell you to do it at least an hour before bed, but do this in baby steps so the habit is developed.
Once you say goodnight, don't wait for a response. Double-check that your analog clock alarm is set, and go to bed. With 28 more days a year, what will you accomplish?