12.16.2013Personal Tech

Obsessed With Tech? Blogger Conducts Smartphone Productivity Test

This is a guest post from St. Louis, MO resident Kesha Brown, a speaker, Web designer, self-proclaimed Mediocrity Escapologist and blogger at Uncommon Chick. She's wildly passionate about helping chicks (and some cool dudes) escape normal and discover a more fun-loving, fantabulous existence by creating a life on their own terms, consciously and intentionally. This, she believes, is THE ultimate freedom!

Most people check their phones often, even when their device is not ringing or buzzing. In fact, a recent study featured on NPR found that users are swiping their phones an average of 110 times per a day. That is almost once every 13 minutes!

As a blogger who likes to challenge the status quo, I was thrilled when Verizon Wireless approached me with a productivity experiment based on my phone swipes. I love my Verizon Samsung Galaxy S 3 and rely on it heavily to get through my day.

Verizon asked me to perform an experiment that would measure my daily productivity by using the Addict Free app to track my swipes over a two-day period. On the first day, I was encouraged to go about my day as normal and swipe my phone as many times as I wanted – to check the time, make a call, send a text, tweet, play a game, etc.

On the second day, the experiment challenged me to swipe my phone as little as possible. They were interested in how my productivity changed between the two days. I knew it was going to be difficult as I rely on my phone for a number of reasons. I use my phone for social media updates, texting, calling, checking the time, checking voicemails, using maps/directions, taking lots of photos, using different photo apps to jazz them up, jotting down notes, listening to my phone's stored music or podcasts while driving, setting and snoozing alarms, paying bills, keeping up with my digital lists, and voice recording. Point being, I use it for almost everything!

On the first day, I anticipated I would swipe my phone around 100 times. I went about my day as normal. I used my phone alarm in the morning to wake me up and went about my routine. Throughout the day I made calls to family, friends, work conference calls and calls to my Web design clients (as an owner of my own Web consulting company, I have to make a lot of client calls throughout the day). I relied on my calendar app, productivity apps like Dropbox, PayPal and Manilla to pay bills. I followed my grocery list on Out of Milk and used the rest of my lists on my DGT GTD app. I also stayed plugged in on my social media channels with Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. To relax, I played games like Ruzzle and Words With Friends. I ended the day with 83 phone swipes.

As an avid user of my Voice Recording app, it was difficult to remember a pad and paper on the second day where I tried to only use my phone for important tasks. I also relied heavily on a watch, so I wouldn’t swipe my phone when I needed to know the time. I would only use my phone if something needed my immediate attention. If it wasn’t urgent, I would wait until I got home or to the office to use my computer. With that said, I was still surprised to find that my number the second day was 72.

I was not as productive the second day because I lost the convenience of doing everything on my phone.

For instance, I MUST take notes or jot down tasks, written or audio, when I think of them or else I'll forget and it won't get done! If it's not on my to-do list or in my calendar, it’s quickly forgotten. I felt like having to handwrite everything and keep track of all the pieces of paper slowed me down.

I definitely feel more productive with my phone. I use a number of apps that allow me to go throughout the day in an easier, more fun way. I also realized I rely on my phone to be MORE productive, especially with my digital lists and calendar. I also use my phone to socialize in waiting situations. This way, I don’t have to do much of that when I’m in a work mode.

This was an eye opening experience! On one hand, I think in today’s society we are all very dependent on our phones. But on the other hand, apps allow us to do so much more and be more productive (and have fun with games) that it’s worth it!

How many times do you think you swipe your phone in one day? Let us know in the comments.

For more Verizon Wireless news, subscribe via RSS feeds in the right rail.