Chronically Online

A College Grad Looking For A Full-Time Role Tracks Her Screen Time

A week of job applications, Eras Tour IG posts, and BridalTok deep dives.

by Anna Traver
Elite Daily/Courtesy of Anna Traver

In Chronically Online, Elite Daily asks people to get real about their phone habits, tracking their screen time over the course of a week. This week, BDG editorial intern Anna Traver takes us through a typical week in her life working as an intern and shares the apps she spent the most time on and how often she mindlessly scrolled.

Ahhh, post-grad life. The bittersweet feeling of graduating college — an accomplishment that took you the past four years to achieve — mixed with the stressful agony of searching for your next opportunity. I moved back home after graduation in May, which has its perks: saving on rent and groceries, spending more time with family, and picking up the occasional serving shifts at the restaurant where I worked in high school. But it also provides a lot of extra free time, which unfortunately, does not help decrease the amount of time I mindlessly spend on my phone, a habit that I am — or, let’s face it, all of us are — trying to break.

I’ve spent my summer so far working as an editorial intern for BDG remotely three to four days a week and the rest of the week stalking LinkedIn and applying for jobs. Oh, and, of course, spending way too much time on social media.

I never really took the time before to track my screen time — honestly, I didn’t want to know the results. I always had the mentality that since I work hard, I deserve to have a little free time to go on my phone, right? What I didn’t realize was just how much of that free time I actually spend staring at a tiny screen.

Occupation: Editorial Intern, BDG

Age: 22

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Weekly Average (June 11-June 17): 5 hours, 23 minutes

Day 1: Photos, Photos, & More Photos Of The Eras Tour

Since I graduated, I’ve been staying up later than usual. I don’t need to be up early for class anymore, so I can sleep in a little later. However, with staying up late comes the inevitable hours on social media.

Most of my “social” screen time, which was three hours and four minutes on Sunday, was spent around midnight (Saturday night into Sunday). I spent this time going back and forth between TikTok and Instagram, mindlessly scrolling. Surprisingly, I used Instagram a tad more. I attended Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour the night before in Detroit, so as exhausted as I was, I also felt full of energy because of how amazing the show was. After finally getting to sleep, I woke up Sunday morning around 10 a.m. Before getting out of bed, I scrolled through my camera roll to look at the blurry and far-away photos I tried to take of Taylor and chose my favorite pictures of myself and my friends to post. I took an embarrassing amount of photos, so this took way longer than it should have.

Then, of course, I had to send my favorites to my best friends to get their opinion on which one I should post — as we all do, right? This shot my Messages app to the No. 1 spot, as my biggest flaw is my indecisiveness. I act as if I didn’t already have my favorite and that if they don’t choose it, I won’t be disappointed.

“This one is my favorite! You look so good!”

“Thank you! Are you sure? Do my hands look weird?”

*Repeat this convo a handful more times*

I went to lunch with family, which involved pulling out my camera roll again to show them all the photos and videos of the concert. After getting home, I went right back into bed and scrolled through Instagram and TikTok in between snoozing.

Anna Traver at The Eras Tour.

Most-Used Apps: Messages, Instagram, Photos

Screen Time: 7 hours, 9 minutes

Day 2: Another Wonderful Day In The Customer Service Industry

I spent the first half of my day doing my internship at BDG, and I had quite a few things to get done on my work to-do list. I really enjoy the content I help with here, so it doesn’t usually feel like work. When I checked everything off my list, I applied to a handful more jobs and with each, wrote a cover letter.

I pick up serving shifts a few days a week, and today was one of them. I headed to my shift around 4:30, and it was dreadfully slow. Slow days just tempt me to go on my phone more, so when I had some downtime in between tables, I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram, looking at everything and nothing at the same time. My group chat with my high school friends was also blowing up throughout my shift, trying to figure out our plans for the weekend. With all of us working summer jobs, we have to make plans days, or even weeks, in advance.

We went back and forth for a good hour on where we should go out.

“I think we go back to the bar we went to last week! Good drinks, cheap, and outdoor.”

“You’re only saying that because you’re hoping that guy you saw last week will be there.”

“okkkk sue me!”

After my shift, I collapsed in bed and watched TikTok (yes, you guessed it — mindlessly) before I fell asleep.

Most-Used Apps: Messages, Instagram, TikTok

Screen Time: 4 hours, 33 minutes

Day 3: Philosophical Questions & Job Applications

I intern Monday through Thursday, so most of my days look similar from 9 to 5. I added and completed more things on my to-do list and, you guessed it, applied to more jobs. This day wasn’t particularly that exciting and I spent a lot of time checking my email, hoping to hear back from any connections I reached out to.

My most-used app was Messages again, which I spent one hour on throughout the day. During most of this hour, I texted one of my best friends, Hunter, about where we’re interviewing, if we’ve gotten calls back — all the fun stuff. She’s in the same boat as me, applying and interviewing, wondering what her next chapter will be. She also sent me two screenshots from her Notes app of “Good questions to ask friends,” as she titled it. I like to think of her as the philosopher of the group, asking the most random, yet in-depth questions and finding out strangers’ stories. We decided we’ll be having a wine night soon and running through the list of questions together.

Text messages between Hunter and I.

Most-Used Apps: Messages, TikTok, Outlook

Screen Time: 5 hours, 16 minutes

Day 4: More Job Searching

At this point, you can probably guess that I spent the beginning of Wednesday logging on to my internship and scrolling through LinkedIn.

I didn’t pick up a shift this night as I wanted to spend some more time on my resume and cover letter, trying to make it as clean and organized as possible. I played music while I did this, which explains the jump in my Spotify usage this day.

I have been obsessed with Megan Moroney’s new album, Lucky, so I played this in the background while I worked. I’m not always the biggest country music fan, but this album is just so good for young women in their early to mid 20s. Think Shania Twain mixed with Kelsea Ballerini.

I have been on SwiftTok, so I can easily spend hours scrolling through the app and looking at videos from her tour. Even though I already attended my city’s show, I can’t help but watch every video of her performances I come across — especially when they’re clips of her surprise songs.

Most-Used Apps: TikTok, Messages, Spotify

Screen Time: 4 hours, 58 minutes

Day 5: BridalTok (I Don’t Even Have A Boyfriend)

I used to work at a bridal shop while I was at school, so naturally, my phone picked up on it. I’ve been on BridalTok ever since, and my Instagram Explore page is also filled with all things bridal — wedding dresses, venues, you name it. Let’s just say if a date happened to scroll through my Explore page, he would probably think I wanted to marry him tomorrow.

While on Instagram, I came across model Taylor Hill’s jaw-dropping, gorgeous wedding. Not only were pictures of her magical day flooding my feed, but it was also covered by Vogue Weddings, an account I’ve spent hours stalking, gawking over the most beautiful celebrity weddings.

Hill’s was not an exception, and I got invested in this about as much as I was invested in Sofia Richie’s wedding. Everything from her dress to the flowers to the colors had me obsessed. This led to me spending a good 42 minutes on Instagram, the majority of which was consumed by Hill’s content. On TikTok, I’ve been seeing a lot of NYC content on my feed, as I am looking to move there within the next couple of months. I love watching my favorite NYC creators’ daily vlogs and fit check videos, such as @acquiredstyle and @livschreiber.

Most-Used Apps: Instagram, TikTok, Messages

Screen Time: 3 hours, 54 minutes

Day 6: I Couldn’t Stay Away From MSU For Long

It’s my full day off. I’ve been called a “workaholic” a time or two... hundred. This summer, I decided to dedicate my Fridays to doing all of the things I would regret not doing if I move. With this being my first summer post-grad and so many things being up in the air, such as where I could live, what job I’ll have, and what people I will meet, I decided spending time with the people I love most is more important than any work I would be doing. So as much as I sometimes want to make some extra cash, I don’t pick up any serving shifts on Fridays, and I’m not scheduled for my internship.

I spent my morning leisurely, just relaxing and drifting in and out of sleep in between scrolling through TikTok and Instagram. I’ve been obsessed with this Australian hairdresser, @sarahemiliaofficial, who always pops up on my feed. She does these drastic and absolutely gorgeous hair transformations — it gives me serious hair envy. I scrolled through her videos for a while, each time getting so excited to see the before and after.

I then started my day a little after noon by getting ready for a job interview I had and did research to prepare. I felt good after the interview, but had to pack to head back to my college campus, Michigan State University, for the night. My roommate was in town, and since we don’t get to see each other often, I took a trip up.

It was a pretty last-minute decision, as my roommate wasn’t sure if she would be able to make it. However, it worked out perfectly, and right after she got off work, she hopped in her car and started driving. We texted all throughout the first half of the day, going back and forth on what our plans were and what time we expected to get to the house.

We went out to our favorite college bar, were painfully reminded of how old we felt, caught up, and talked about how weird it will be when we aren’t there in the fall.

Screen Time: 6 hours, 56 minutes

Most-Used Apps: Messages, TikTok, Instagram

Day 7: Pool & Lounging

I was tired from going out the night before, so I spent another morning sleeping in as late as I pleased. I headed to my favorite bagel place on campus after rising from my slumber and grabbed coffee at Starbucks. I left East Lansing and headed about an hour away to see another college friend who was hosting a pool party. I turned on my Maps and blasted Taylor Swift on the drive, reminiscing about last weekend at the concert.

I didn’t spend much time on my phone, as I was basking in the sun and socializing in the pool. I left around 11 p.m. and turned Maps back on to head home.

Most-Used Apps: Maps, Messages, Instagram

Screen Time: 4 hours, 53 minutes

Final Thoughts

Honestly, I was not as upset at my screen time as I expected. I was kind of proud, as it was lower than the week before, which was an average of 6 hours and 55 minutes. I felt more present this week and enjoyed being away from my phone. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and hopefully, I can get my screen time lower and lower; but for now, I’ll take a small achievement.

My takeaway from keeping track of my screen time was that the less time I spend on my phone, the more time I can spare for doing the things that matter. Checking the stats and numbers at the end of the week inspired me to get it down even lower in the next few weeks and to fill my time with more people, places, and experiences. I know... incredibly cheesy, but true.

My Messages were in my top three most used apps every day, which tells me that maybe I should pick up the phone and call, rather than just text back and forth. If I’m going to be adding to my screen time, I would rather it be from calling and FaceTiming and having actual, real-time conversations with others. My data also reminded me that I should probably spend less time on Instagram and TikTok, especially before bed.

I think everyone at some point needs to spend a week tracking and analyzing their screen time because it can really help put things into perspective. The warm, nice summer days won’t last forever, but my phone will always be there — it can wait.