An Editor Prepping For A Kansas City Wedding Tracks Her Screen Time
And all during Taylor Swift’s birthday week.
In Chronically Online, Elite Daily asks people to get real about their phone habits, tracking their screen time over a week. This week, Elite Daily’s newsletter editor, Hayley Schueneman — who had a busy week getting everything ready to fly to a friend’s wedding in Kansas City — shares the apps she used, the time she spent scrolling, and why her screen time was all over the place.
I will pick up my phone before both eyes are open every morning, and I don’t care how many “anti-dopamine” TikToks tell me otherwise. If you spend enough time on TikTok — and spoiler alert: I do — you know that if you keep scrolling, you’ll always find a video that confirms that what you’re already doing is great and wonderful. That’s why I will pick up my phone right away so that I don’t hit snooze on my alarm, which is probably the No. 1 habit I am always trying to break. So I wake up, check my text messages, my email, Slack, and then reward myself with my first TikTok scroll of the day.
I think that my screen time is probably pretty average, but for the sake of an experiment, I decided to track it over the course of seven days. It was a busy week where I was getting a lot of work done before two days of PTO, handling last-minute alterations on my wedding guest dress (buckle up), and flying to Kansas City to go to my best friend’s sister’s wedding. Screen time when you travel always seems so random, sooo let’s see how it goes.
Occupation: Senior Newsletter Editor, Elite Daily
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Weekly Average (Dec. 10 - Dec. 16): 5 hours and 44 minutes
Day 1: The One Where I Marathon-Listen To An Audiobook
I stayed up until the wee hours of Sunday morning finishing up Fourth Wing on audiobook through the Libby app. I’m a new-ish convert to audiobooks; I mostly like listening to them while I walk my dog or do household chores. But I was so close to finishing this book, and it was already so late, I just sat in my living room and played my two favorite phone games while listening to the final two hours of the book.
My go-to phone games are My Perfect Hotel and Two Dots. My Perfect Hotel is a simulation game where you manage a hotel and have to clean and upgrade rooms, deliver items to guests, and restock vending machines and pool towels; it is easy and mindless in the best way, and you can play it for hours.
Two Dots is basically just Candy Crush in a sad beige millennial color palette. I’m not very good at it, so when I run out of lives, I just go back to My Perfect Hotel and wait for more lives to generate. When I play My Perfect Hotel I can’t help but imagine myself as an exhausted Armond from Season 1 of The White Lotus.
Most Used Apps: My Perfect Hotel, Messages, Two Dots, Libby
Screen Time: 5 hours, 22 minutes
Day 2: The One Where I Hit The Ground Running
In an effort to become more of a morning person, my best friend and I always wake up early to do a Peloton ride together at 7 a.m. It’s her sister’s wedding that I’m going to this weekend, so we have lots of things to text about while we do our Peloton ride. This morning’s ride was my choice, and I picked Ally Love’s 30-minute Taylor Swift Midnights Ride.
After the Peloton ride, I took my dog for a walk, then made a cup of coffee and sat down to aimlessly scroll through my TikTok FYP — which mainly consists of beauty tutorials and Taylor Swift vids — before logging on for work.
I hit the ground running on Mondays, pulling up all the statistics to see how the newsletters performed the week before. I have bought multiple cute desk calculators to use while I’m compiling my stats, but none of them are as easy or fun to use as my phone calculator. (Haven’t you heard? Hot girls spend 22 minutes on their calculator app.)
I keep my phone on Do Not Disturb during work hours, because otherwise I would get too distracted by texts to keep my focus. It’s really a game changer for me in terms of productivity, and it’s officially my best tip for anyone who struggles with balancing screen time.
Most Used Apps: TikTok, Messages, Calculator
Screen Time: 6 hours and 11 minutes
Day 3: The One That I Absolutely Hate
To prepare for a monster workday, I make Alli do another early morning Peloton with me. We always joke that the ride is just an excuse to wake up early and text each other, and considering that I spent almost two hours of screen time on iMessage alone on this day is telling.
It seems like whenever I’m busiest, I squeeze little social media breaks in more frequently than when I have a chill day. I have a daily screen time limit of two hours for TikTok, and I got dangerously close to that limit on this day, with 1 hour and 49 minutes of scrolling. The only reason I didn’t go over that is because I’m sure I kept scrolling past midnight, so it became Wednesday’s problem.
The big drama of Tuesday, though, was that I went to pick up my dress for the wedding from my tailor and when I tried it on, it was still too big. I was devastated, but I was able to bring it back in right away, have her re-pin it, and she promised it would be ready first thing in the morning. The Dress Drama was very stressful, and I played a lot of Two Dots to calm down. But as I’ve said before, I’m pretty bad at Two Dots, so I end up frustrated again anyway. Maybe I need a meditation app?
Most Used Apps: Messages, TikTok, Two Dots
Screen Time: 7 hours and 49 minutes
Day 4: The One Where I Act Like I’ve Never Traveled Before
I would consider myself an organized person, but somehow packing and getting ready to travel is a black hole of chaos. That’s probably why I was on my phone a lot less on this day, because I was busy doing laundry and showering and finding my suitcase and my packing cubes — all while working a full day, naturally.
Plus, it was Taylor Swift’s birthday, so I did it all while listening to a tonnn of her music. (I’m a Top 0.5% fan on Spotify Wrapped.) I’ve been on a big evermore kick lately, but I also listened to the Eras Tour set list, complete with my
surprise songs, “I Wish You Would” & “the lakes.”
I made myself take a phone break in the evening and started reading a book, Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be. Reading that made me want to listen to Kacey Musgraves, so I went back to Spotify.
Then I remembered that I had forgotten to pick up my dress from the tailor, so I went back out and got it. I didn’t try it on again, because I was sleepy. And that was a crucial mistake.
Most Used Apps: Messages, Spotify
Screen Time: 4 hours and 39 minutes
Day 5: The One Where I Get On A Plane
It takes an hour to drive from my place to the airport, and I somehow convinced my mom to drive me instead of shelling out money for an Uber. So the ride was considerably more enjoyable, but also devoid of screen time since I just chatted with my mom the whole time instead of playing phone games like I would have in an Uber. I got to the airport, got my Chili’s To-Go (Southwestern Egg Rolls for life), and played my phone games then.
The flight from Chicago to Kansas City is laughably short, so I just dozed off while listening to evermore on the plane. Arriving in the Kansas City airport wearing my blue Taylor Swift crewneck made me feel slightly like an OTT Swiftie tourist (especially since Taylor wasn’t even in KC this weekend because the Chiefs were playing an away game, boo), but I always wear that when I travel and I wasn’t going to change.
Once I got to my hotel, I changed into pjs, microwaved a frozen pizza, put on the Reputation Tour on Netflix, and squeezed in some more TikTok. All wedding things would have to wait until the next day.
Most Used Apps: TikTok, Messages, My Perfect Hotel, Two Dots
Screen Time: 4 hours and 45 minutes
Day 6: The One Where I Become An Impromptu Tailor
I had big plans for this day: nothing. I wanted to relax in the hotel so badly, I figured I would shower, try on my dress one last time, watch TV, and eat pizza. Besties, I tried on my dress and it was still. Too. Big. It’s an off-the-shoulder dress, and the bodice was too big and it kept slipping down every time I moved. I was already planning on wearing boob tape instead of a strapless bra (prompting my TikTok search for "how to tape boobs strapless dress"), but I needed the dress to actually fit in order to do that.
I put on Season 1 of The Crown, because it soothes me. It also features a lot of off-the-shoulder party dresses, particularly on Princess Margaret, and I needed inspiration if I was going to figure out how to fix my situation. And I did, with a handful of safety pins and tulle, fix my dress.
In between my tailoring attempts, I took a lot of TikTok breaks — and I mean *a lot*. I spent 4 hours and 41 minutes on TikTok on Friday, which was more than half of my screen time for that day. But listen, it was supposed to be a day of nothing anyway, so who cares?
To end the night, I ordered Dominos for delivery to the hotel, because it soothes me and I deserved it.
Most Used Apps: TikTok, Messages, Dominos
Screen Time: 8 hours and 23 minutes
Day 7: The One With The Wedding
Even though I stayed up late watching makeup tutorials on TikTok (#weddingguestglam), I got up early, had some coffee, then started thinking about a game plan for when I should start getting ready.
I knew I was going to curl my hair and wear it down, and I was also going to do a smokey eye. I picked up the package of false eyelashes I bought before the trip and realized that they didn’t come with adhesive. So, it was off to Target I went. I also picked up a new necklace and some undereye masks and some snacks, because what’s the point of going all the way to Target if you’re not going to spend $100?
By the time I got back from Target, I immediately started getting ready. I pulled up some getting ready music on my phone and started doing my full glam routine. I have to say, I did a very good job.
Once I got to the wedding venue, like any good wedding guest, I spent basically no time on my phone. I did record Alli’s maid of honor speech just in case she or her sister ever want to watch it, but I also know she would rather die than watch a recording of herself. I danced the night away in a dress that (finally) fit, on a wonderfully mild December evening in Kansas City.
Most Used Apps: TikTok, Messages, Spotify, Camera
Screen Time: 2 hours and 59 minutes
Final Thoughts: My Screen Time Usage Is Perfect, Actually
I thought going into this week that my screen time was going to be all over the place since I was traveling. And what is traveling for if not to spend hours upon hours on your phone? But I’m honestly surprised at my average being under six hours — dare I say I’m a little impressed? If you take anything away from this screen time diary, it’s that you should allow yourself time on the apps you love and not feel so much shame about it. Oh, and maybe get any important clothing items tailored in advance.