Episode 067: Phone Addiction?
Have you ever found yourself stuck on your phone or social media, wondering where the time went? Same! Having constant access to a device that can give us multiple dopamine hits throughout the day makes it difficult to put down. When we want to spend time doing something else but struggle to change, there are tools we can use to help us.
In this episode, Diana shares an app that has been a game-changer in limiting her daily phone and social media use.
We’ll also discuss:
- The Opal app can be found here (non-affiliate): https://www.opal.so/
- Tools Diana has tried in the past to curb her social media usage.
- Diana’s reasoning for block scheduling her non-social media time.
- How much have Diana’s phone pickups dropped since using this app?
What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?
- 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
- How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
- Guest interviews
- Deep dives on specific topics
This transcript is auto-generated. Please excuse grammatical errors.
Diana Rene: 0:06
You're listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. A podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Renee, and in 2017, I had my second daughter, and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home. Okay, not literally. But I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next ten months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings, and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system, and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks, and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show.
Welcome to another episode of the Decluttered Mom podcast. This week, we are going to talk about an app that I was recommended by a friend about like maybe a month and a half, two months ago, and it has been really, really, really helpful for me as far as limiting my social media and phone use when my kids are home after school, and I've talked about this quite a few times on this podcast, because over the years, I've tried so many different things, especially working online, like my job is online, I work remote, I'm working from my computer, I'm working from my phone, probably 80% of the time that I am working, so it's really easy for me to just get sucked in, and even before I had my business, it was really easy for me to get sucked in just because I was a stay at home mom and like I was home with my kids a lot and like, yes, of course we left the house, but it was just me and the kids so much of my day that like it felt if social media and like texting and all of that felt like a connection to the outside world that I was missing, you know, like actually communicating with adults throughout the day, and so it was easy for me then. So I think different seasons of my life have presented different challenges and have shown me different ways that I am essentially like addicted to my phone, and I think we all are to an extent, because they know what they're doing, they know how to make you feel addicted to your phone and they make it really easy for you to be addicted to your phone. So something that was recommended to me by a friend is an app called Opal. Now I have tried other apps like this before. I've talked about other apps like this on this podcast and they worked for a while and I would like them, but they had their limitations, and the biggest limitation, honestly, was how easy it was to bypass. So they are basically apps that block other apps from your phone for a specific time period and the ones that I have tried before and I have talked about on previous episodes. Like I said, they would work for a little bit and then I would just get annoyed with them, and so I would try to log on to Instagram and a little block up, block popper, whatever, what am I trying to say? The little thing, the screen that pops up and blocks you from accessing it. I was able to push a button to basically say do it anyway, and it would do it anyway, and so the idea is that you're obviously not wanting to do that, but for my brain it was just really easy to bypass and so I just stopped listening to it. It just became an annoyance that I would have to click bypass anytime and obviously that's not helpful or it's not helping the actual problem. So I knew that I needed something that would really really lock it, and I have toyed around with the idea of like even getting a different phone, like a work phone, and then having my regular iPhone as just like when I'm not working. The problem is a lot of my work is social media content and so I shoot that throughout the day just as I'm going about my daily life, and so it's kind of hard to keep work and personal separate when it comes to like an actual phone, because the idea was I wanted to just basically lock away the Work phone and have no apps on the personal phone like no Instagram, no tick tock, no reddit, like no voxer, like all of the apps that suck my time away. For me Would not be on that phone, but because of the nature of my job, I could not figure out like the logistical side of that. One thing I will say that did help is at our old house we got like an old-school landline. My kids were Fascinated by and like we're blown away that. That was like the only option when I was a kid, but it was nice because then the school had the landline number, like my husband, obviously, my mom, my mother-in-law, my sister, like anyone who would Potentially need to get in touch with me in an emergency, had the landline number, and so then what I would do is I would physically shut my phone off, like power it off and like put it in a drawer upstairs away from me, and that that did help. But again then I ran into the obstacle of, like I needed my phone to be able to shoot content as needed Throughout the day, because that is such a big part of my job. And then we moved and we still haven't set up the landline. I need to do that. But I think that that is something that does Help to an extent, but it had its flaws and I realize, like if you are not Addicted to your phone, then this may all sound like insane to you, but I would venture to say that most of us are and you can kind of relate. Let me know, shoot me a DM and let me know if you can relate at all to what I'm saying. So this, this app opal I am, this is not sponsored. They have no idea. They've never heard my name. I Pay for the app, that is. The one downside is that it is a paid app I think it's roughly a hundred dollars for a year and there is a free version. But I have heard from people that the free version is much easier to bypass. So I think it would kind of present the same issues that I was having with the other apps if I was using the free version. So with the paid version I can schedule Different block sessions is what I call it. They had, they have a name for it, but what I call is block sessions, and the most Common block session that I have is every Monday through Friday, from 4 to 6 pm, I have a block session and what that does is it essentially makes my phone Like a phone and not like a computer where you get to pick and choose which apps you can include in the block session. So, like I left text messaging open, I left phone calls open, I left internet browser open, because those are just those are not things that I tend to get stuck on. For me, it's Instagram, it's tiktok, it's sometimes Facebook, it's Voxer, it's things like that where I can scroll or I can get really lost, like a group conversation that's going on forever or just things like that. So those are the the ones I think. I think I'm missing one, but basically all social media or anything that I feel like sucked in on my phone are blocked during 4 to 6 pm, monday through Friday. And why did I pick that time? Because that is the time period after my girls are home from school and it's a time of day where my energy tends to be lower, it's easy for me to feel extra frustrated, especially when I'm lost scrolling in my phone. Like they come home they do their checklist, then I usually let them have like iPad time for a while because they need to decompress from the school day and then the next thing I know it's like hours have passed while with them on their iPad, me on my phone, and it just feels like wasted time. And I think that you guys know my opinion of screen time. Like I think that for our house if I restrict the girls on it, then they want it more. If I just let them use it whenever they want to, they kind of self-manage most of the time, but that after school time period like they would use their iPad. I always like struggle on here when I'm talking to you guys because it's an iPad but we call it an E-pad because that's what Miss Nine called it when she was little and it just stuck. So now we always call it E-pads in our house, even though that's obviously not what it's called. And then if I say that to anyone outside the home, they look at me like what is an E-pad? So they are on their E-pad slash iPads, they'll watch a show or two and then they'll go, like to the craft kit room and they will start grabbing things and they'll start making a craft or they'll like. They just they find other things to go do, but I can get sucked into scrolling on Instagram and then they need me for something and it's like I have found that nine times out of 10, if my kids are talking to me and I am like irritated or frustrated that they need something for me, it's because my attention is on my phone, and so I wanted to eliminate that, because that's not fair to them and it's not what I want for my relationship with them is to appear like this irritated mom that is just glued to my phone because I'm tired at that time of the day, right, like that's not the, that's not the impression that I want to give them, it's not the culture I want in my home and it's just not. It's just not what I want. It's not what I want. And so what I figured was and you know I was like I was going to I'm going to test this, I'm going to see if this works. So this four to six PM is like a good idea. And you guys, it's amazing, it's hard. Like sometimes I get frustrated because I'm like like it's real, like the dopamine hit especially like me if you have ADHD then like just grabbing your phone and watching 20 minutes of TikTok, like that, it's like a dope, it's instant dopamine and it's all these like short form videos that are feeding you all of this dopamine. And so it's hard when you're breaking that habit, especially at a time of day where you're just like feeling really like lower mood oftentimes. And maybe that's not for everyone, but that's just for me. So I set it up for four to six and then I basically was like if I want to grab my phone at six o'clock, I can do that, like I have permission to do that. But what I have found that has been very interesting is that having that two hours of no phone, I almost, by the time six o'clock rolls around, most of the time I like don't even think about my phone. Like I would say, from like four to five I will still grab it sometimes, but I can't do anything with it. So I sit it back down, but by six o'clock I kind of just forget that it's even there. Like I've even had a couple of times where my husband will text me or call me and like I don't, like I'm not, I'm just not paying attention to it, so I don't even let my notifications are turned off all the time. So unless I'm like on my phone actively, I'm not seeing text messages. So unless he like calls me a couple of times and I hear it, then he's like what in the world he's like it's so hard to get a hold of you between four and six and that's because my phone is not like attached to me, it's like upstairs or it's in my office or like it's just not by me, right. And so by the time six rolls around, like I just kind of forget about it and like we have dinner and we do bedtime and I'll hang out with the girls and Then I like grab it when it's time for bedtime and I'm like putting them to bed and waiting for them to fall asleep is when I'll kind of like Start to scroll on my phone and like give myself permission to have that time to like decompress and be basically waste my time. But you know, it is what it is, it's just something that I like to do. So the reason I think it works so well is that it is really hard to bypass. I essentially would have to go into my settings, find the app, change the permissions on it for it to Give me access back into those apps during that block. Now I can always edit it at other times. So if it's like seven o'clock and I'm like you know what, I really want to change this and I want it to be four to five or I really want to be four to seven, I can go in and I can change that after the fact. But if it's five o'clock and I'm like, no, I want to change it. I'm done with this today. I want to check my phone. I can't. It takes work to do it, enough work that it's like it creates enough resistance for me that I don't do it. It's not just a tap of a button on the screen and then I'm let in. It's like it's more work where, if I start to do that, I've only had one time where I have started to go through that process and it gave me enough time to pause and be like what am I doing? Like why it is not this important. I do not need to be on my phone right now and I put it down and I did something with the girls. Now I also have it set up on the weekends, but I have it set up for a different time and that is in the mornings from nine I think it's nine to eleven thirty, and I have found that that's like the best time on the weekend or not the best time, but that's the time on the weekend that I would find myself getting lost in scrolling, because we have like slower mornings and then I'm just kind of hanging out and then next thing I know I've like spent so much time just browsing on Instagram or scrolling through your tiktok and then I feel like my time has been wasted and we haven't done anything together. So in the mornings on weekends I have it blocked, and now recently I just started blocking it in the mornings during the weekday, in addition to the four to six. So my plan is to continue to add these blocks Until I feel like I can trust myself with my phone and not grab it whenever, like Because, okay, tell me if you can relate to this. Sometimes I find myself grabbing my phone and just like going back and forth between the apps just looking for something, and I don't even know what I'm looking for. But I'm just looking for something like I'm just looking for Some take. I think it's just like a dopamine hit, but like I'll go in Instagram and I'll look for like two seconds and I'll go into tiktok and watch for like one minute and then go out of there and then I'll go into boxer and then, like it's just, I can even like identify while I'm doing it. This is not logical. What are you doing? And like it's like on autopilot, like I just keep going, I just keep doing it and I find that the more blocks I add, the less I do that in the time that I do have access to social media, I'm just not picking up my phone as much. Actually, I'm going to look. Hold on, let me check something. Ok, I just checked and I checked my pickups. You know how, like in your settings, you can track your screen time and it tells you how many pickups you had in the day. So how many times you like pick up your phone to look at it, and before I started using Opal, it was an average of 148 pickups a day, and now the last few days just, for example, have been roughly 60. So I have more than I've cut my phone pickups more than half by using this app and I continue to add more blocks throughout the day as I get more used to it. So it's kind of like, instead of going like totally cold turkey, I'm just like slowly adding increments of not being able to use those things and not being letting myself get lost in the scroll and just feel like I'm wasting time and I'm wasting connection opportunities with my girls, especially after school, when I just think it's so important after school after being apart for the day and then going through all of the highs and lows that school has to offer just being able to be there and be present and be available to them. And that doesn't mean that I'm like sitting at the table staring at them while they eat their snack, like waiting for them to connect with me. It just means that I'm not like sitting on the other side of the room staring at my phone while they're doing whatever they're doing, like it's just I am more available to them, I appear more available to them and I just think overall it has greatly improved my relationship with my phone and it's made me like more confident in being able to just not use it as much, which is ideal, right. So I don't know if this is helpful for you. I don't know if you struggle with this nearly as much as I do, but I would love to hear your thoughts and I would love to hear if you have tried anything like this or if you are going to give this a try or anything like that. It's just, it's such an interesting topic for me and it's something that I worry about for them, like for my girls, as they get older, like I already. Like my oldest is nine, she's almost 10 and she has friends. She has friends. She has quite a few friends that have phones and they like do group chat, group text after school. And like we are not venturing down that road yet. I don't think we will for a long time still. But it is very interesting to see, like I can't imagine the level of addiction to like technology that our kids will have growing up with it in the way that they have, compared to my generation who, like I still remember in fifth grade seeing a desktop computer at our school for the first time it was the only desktop computer in the entire school and then, like you know, getting AOL at home and like the loud, loud internet startup. And like getting my first cell phone. And like I remember when texting came out, my friends and I were in college and we're like there's no way this is going to stick. Like no, this is so dumb, everybody hates texting. And now, like people will only text instead of call. And then FaceTime, like I, just to think about in my lifetime how much technology has advanced and how how much of a part of our lives it is. It's kind of scary to think what it will look like by the time they are adults. And so I'm trying to learn how to model healthy behavior with technology, and I can't do that unless I learn it myself. And so, again, hopefully this is helpful. I'd love to hear your thoughts and I will see you next week on the decluttered mom podcast.
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