Your Data Plan or Your Life?

We recently went to discount phone carrier as a cost-cutting measure in our efforts to rethink finance.  It saved us about $28 bucks per month.  That over a year is $336 bucks I would rather use elsewhere.  What I found interesting though, is how I look at phone plans differently than I used to now that I have downsized back to my iPhone 4 and am looking at going back to a basic phone. 

“Unlimited Data” or Limiting your life

It’s easy to find pretty amazing phone deals lately, but as my rethinking of smartphones, I have been looking at “phone plans” differently as well.  Are you really buying bytes of data that you can crush through steady streaming of your favorite (or your kids favorite) Youtube channel?  Or, if you look at it differently, are you paying someone else to take away your time? We are all given 24 precious hours in a day.  Once that is gone, it is gone for good.  Never to return.

According to Emarketer, the average American adult spends 12 hours and 7 minutes a day consuming media.  The average American sleeps about 6.8 hours per night.  If you factor in a typical 8 hour work day, that means every waking moment (and then some, 2 hours actually) is somehow engaged with media.  It is easy to see how this could happen.  With Netflix at night, Pandora on all day, and checking social media feeds in between, it’s no wonder. In exchange for unlimited data, are we limiting our lives?  In the lack of self-restraint to be entertained and constantly engaged online, are we selling our lives for the sake of more bytes?

Is all data consumption equal?

There is a marked difference between having Pandora running the soothing beats of Bossanova while you host an intimate dinner party, binge-watching The Americans on Amazon with your spouse, or solitarily endless scrolling on Pinterest.  In light of this, it can be difficult to tell if your personal phone use is a problem.  To further tease apart your own phone use, it might be wise to download an app such as Moment or Checky.  It can be a revealing exercise to see just how often you are on the rectangular leash and how many hours of your day you are looking at the screen.  How many conversations might this be interrupting? How many moments of your day is spent disengaged from your surroundings and engaged with your device?  From there, you may be better able to see if your data consumption is an issue or not.

For myself, I downloaded Checky when I had my iPhone 6.  It was fascinating to see how often I picked that thing up just to look.  Did I get a text?  Did I get an email?  What was the weather going to be like in 20 minutes?  Any interesting headlines on the newsfeeds?  By the end of my one week experiment, I felt that my time and thoughts were not really my own but driven by this compulsion to look at my phone. I felt like I was trading my life for my data plan.

Are you?

This post Your Data Plan or Your LIfe first appeared on Rethink Redo Repair.

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