App Review: ActionDash

Our cell or mobile phones are hugely important in this day and time, perhaps especially so to us millennials. I was born in the early 90s, so I’m kind of in the middle of the generation. I got my first phone for my 13th birthday, or a few days before actually. My brother, who is three years younger than me, was 11 or 12 when he got his first phone. Many millennials that I know are proud to belong to a generation that grew up playing outside, as am I, but we’re also proud that we encountered technology like phones and computers at a young enough age for it to become natural for us to use them, we’re not struggling in the same way as older generations, but we’ve also not been enslaved by technology from a really young age like the younger generations. When I was around 15, one of my grandmothers said that the mobile phone was the older children’s pacifier, and when I was 17 and on exchange (and got to experience unlimited texting for the first time) my host mother said that to teenagers the phone was like an extension to the arm. I know there are a lot of millennials who don’t use their phones a lot, but I am not one of them. I’m on my phone a lot. When I’m not on my phone, I’m on my tablet or PC, or in a movie theatre – I even have to put my phone away so I won’t get distracted when reading books. I know it’s bad.

I have seen Apple iPhone users talk on twitter about how their phones are notifying them of the amount of time they’ve spent on their phone. Philip DeFranco tweeted about how much time he’d spent on Twitter specifically, that he tried to justify it with needing to use Twitter for work, but then he said he couldn’t possibly justify spending that amount of time on social media because it’s not all for work. I don’t use iPhone, or any Apple products, and I have no desire to. My phone doesn’t have a built in function to track screen time, so I went looking through the Google Play store, and that’s where I found ActionDash, a free to use app with the option of purchasing a pro version that will remove ads, among other things. The free version lets you see all the info about your screen time over the past week, so of course I went ahead and tracked it for a week straight, not restricting myself, using my phone as I normally would, so in this post I want to take you on my journey of how I’ve been using my phone for the past week!

Introducing: ActionDash

Let’s start with Saturday, March 16th. When I open the app I get the picture you see below, and I can scroll back through the past week, the 16th being the earliest day I could view at the time I took these screenshots.

I made sure to take the screenshots not on the day but the following day, so the data would be complete. And this is what we see: A wheel showing the 4 most used apps of the day, as well as “others”, number of unlocks of the phone, and notifications received, and at the bottom, a graph showing how long each session in each app has been. In this first image, the bottom two lines are missing, but we can still get the gist of what the graph shows: 1 session lasted 20-30 minutes, another lasted 15-20, three sessions lasted 10-15 minutes, 23 lasted between 5 and 10 minutes, 17 3-5 minutes, and what the picture doesn’t show is 1-2 minutes and less than 1 minute, which has been the longest bar on every day that I’ve checked the app!

On this Saturday, the app I spend the most time in was Instagram, followed by Twitter, Google, and then Pokemon GO. From what I can remember, this was a very antisocial day for me, I stayed in bed the majority of the day with the TV playing shows and YouTube, and I was scrolling on my phone the majority of the time as well. I promise, most days I do not spend 8.5 hours actively on my phone!

Let’s have a look at the following few days of the week:

If we’re being honest, I don’t remember everything about all of these days, as I’m not writing it as we go, but I do remember some things so let’s see… As we can see from Sunday the 17th, I spent less than three hours on my phone that day, which was a better day for me emotionally than the 16th, I do remember that. I spent nearly half that time on Instagram, which I can easily see, as a lot of the time I’ll be scrolling on Instagram while watching stuff, it requires little to no concentration as I just take in the pictures and I don’t have to actually read the words like I do on Twitter. But still, we can see the same few apps repeated almost daily, Twitter and Instagram are on daily, which was no surprise. WordPress was on the wheel on the 19th, because I was reading a rather lengthy article, and I kept putting my phone down, and got distracted a lot, so I probably wasn’t actually reading the whole time, I just left the screen on when I put my phone down and the screen doesn’t black out right away. Let’s see, what else… Oh, Friday the 22nd – Google was my most used app! That was a bit surprising, but I know exactly why: I fell down a rabbit hole of wikipedia articles, which happens on occasion, this time it was reading up on Russian history, starting with Stalin, then Lenin, and then the Tsars that ruled the country up until the revolution in 1917. And because it’s wikipedia, every article contains links to other articles so I end up getting side tracked and yeah, that’s how that happened! I also spent quite a lot of time on YouTube that day – I usually watch YouTube on the TV, but we had to have repair people come by and then set up a new TV, so to stay out of the way I watched YouTube on my phone in another room. Saturday the 23rd was Community Day, so that’s why Pokemon GO won first place on screen time then, as the event lasted for 3 hours, although I wasn’t actually playing it the full time…

Now let’s have a closer look at the app itself:

This picture is from Sunday the 24th, if I’m not mistaken. Either way, it doesn’t matter, what I wanted to show you was the graph where you can see the app session length breakdown for the day. Out of 271 app sessions, 203 of them lasted less than a minute! Thinking about how that works in reality… one of two things happened: I got a notification, clicked on it, and went out of the app again, or I opened the app out of boredom and closed it again almost immediately. The first one isn’t that bad, in my opinion. The second one however, that’s the kind of stuff I want to avoid, a habit I really want to work on breaking. All those little one minute sessions, I really want to stop them.

You can also view the whole week in the same way you can each day:

Over the course of one week, I spent 33 hours and 4 minutes on my phone.

168 hours to a week.

56 hours spent sleeping, if I sleep 8 hours a day.

Sleeping and phone stuff comes to 89 hours, so let’s just say 90 hours of the week.

168-90=78. I’ve spent more than half my time sleeping and on my phone. 53%. For only 47% of my week have I been awake and not on my phone. That’s kind of scary.

Let’s have a look at some other ways you can track your screen activity using the app ActionDash.

If you click on the icons in the circle of the opening screen, you can view the stats for that app daily, showing the time spent in it over the past week, and hourly, showing the stats for the day:

At the top of the home screen, you have some icons you can click on and it shows you different things as well:

The first icon, the cake diagram, is the start screen, which we’ve already covered. Next to it you can view the stats for screen time. The next icon shows the stats for app launches. Next to that, you can view notification stats. Lastly, the padlock symbolises unlocks, and you can view the stats for that as well.

So as you can see, there is a LOT of things you can view and track in the free version of this app, which is what I’ve been doing. Like I mentioned at the start, it is also possible to purchase a pro version, which gives you the additional benefits of stats beyond 7 days, enhanced usage graphs, no ads, dark theme, advanced customisation, and the possibility of restoring manual backups. It’s a one time upgrade which will cost you about £5 (my app store which is in Norwegian Kroner says it’s 45,-). Is it necessary? I don’t think so. I don’t feel the need to track more than the past 7 days, and if I were to I’d probably do it manually every day as it goes by in my bullet journal.

Just to show you, this is what days beyond the past 7 look like:

I don’t know if these are accurate, or if they just show that I’ve spent some time in these apps. One of them shows six apps in addition to “other”, while the other one only shows three – it could be that you need to spend over a specific amount of time in the app before it shows in the pie chart, I don’t know. I just wanted to show you what it looks like if you don’t upgrade to the pro version.

Final Thoughts

Is an app like this worth it? Is there a point to tracking your screen time like this?

I think it can be useful, yes. By using an app that tracks your time, you can become more aware of how you’re ACTUALLY spending your time, and that’s not a bad thing.

When I first downloaded the app, I was a bit obsessed with checking in multiple times a day and see how the pie chart and time change. In writing moment, it’s 2.40pm, I’ve unlocked my phone 53 times, had 192 notifications, and spent 1 hour and 17 minutes on my phone. It would probably have been more if I hadn’t spent the past couple of hours working on this blog post. The obsession wore off over time, but the first couple of days… I spent a lot of time checking in on the app to see how I was spending my time!

Have I learned anything? Yes. I’ve learned that I am way too guilty of the crime of unlocking my phone for no reason, and checking in on apps for less than a minute.

Will I change anything going forward? Eventually, I would like to. I’d like to eventually blacklist a lot of the apps in Forest that I’ve had whitelisted for a few months now, to stay off my phone completely when I have a tree or a bush growing, and to spend time on my phone on purpose, not just picking it up out of boredom. Eventually, I would like to change the bars on the stats, so that the “less than 1 minute” bar goes way down, and some of the higher ones go up. I’d like to plan out that I can spend the next 10 minutes on Twitter, that I can go on Instagram in the morning and at night. That I can play Pokemon GO when I’m out on walks. Those kinds of things. I’d like to be more mindful when it comes to how I spend time on my phone, and this app helped me to see that.

Have to  ever tracked your screen time?

What do you think of it, is it useful?

Related posts: SleepTown App (stay off your phone at night) // 2018 in Trees (Forest: Stay Focused app) // A Very Satisfying Forest (Forest: Stay Focused app)

Xoxo

Julie

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ALL THE MIDANDRY MAKES ME SICK.

I need to say something, and it requires more than the 280 character limit in a tweet (do you remember when it was 140? And before the option to thread multiple tweets together before posting? How did we live?!).

Women. Recently I’ve unfollowed several of you on twitter for posting things along the lines of “all men are trash”. ALL MEN ARE NOT TRASH. Maybe you’ve had some bad experiences with some trashy ones, – cheaters, or men being dicks because you didn’t wanna sleep with them… They definitely exist. BUT SO DO GOOD ONES! But you know what? You’re never gonna meet them if you keep generalising and assuming everyone is gonna be like your ex or those men you meet on a night out or whatever.

And speaking of things we need to stop doing, as women, because we’re not doing ourselves any favours here. STOP CRYING RAPE WHEN THERE WAS NO RAPE. Yes you’re allowed to change your mind. If you’ve said you’ll sleep with someone, you can change your mind. You can change your mind at any point up until or during the act. If you’re going home with someone from the club and cjsnge your mind and you don’t want to sleep with them, LEAVE. If you’re in the middle of foreplay and you don’t want to continue, SPEAK UP. If you’re in the middle of having sex and you want to stop, SAY SOMETHING. What you CAN’T do, is go through with it, and then say you were raped when you regret your actions in retrospect!! Men and women, none of us are mind readers, and if you change your mind you need to SAY IT. You can use body language too, to signal that you’re not into doing it anymore, but unless you SPECIFICALLY SPEAK UP, you can’t expect the other person to know what you’re thinking or feeling because humans don’t work that way!

You have to realise, that if you go through the act without saying anything, and then accuse them of raping you, you’re hurting other people, people who weren’t involved in this at all, people who were ACTUALLY raped. It’s hard enough to be believed as a victim of rape, male or female, as it is, without other people hurting the cause and accusing people of rape when they didn’t say anything about it at the time. REGRETTING HAVING SEX WITH SOMEONE DOESN’T MEAN THEY RAPED YOU. Rape is someone forcing you against your will at the time, not stopping when you ask them to, not respecting that you no longer wish to continue what the two of you were doing. If you went into it willingly and you didn’t say stop or no or that you’ve changed your mind, IF YOU DIDN’T WITHDRAW CONSENT at any point BEFORE OR DURING, YOU CAN’T WITHDRAW IT AFTER! You’re perfectly within your right as a human to regret doing what you did, but you have to deal with it like a fucking adult, you don’t go out and accuse the person of raping you – it hurts them, their life can be ruined by an accusation like this, and it hurts everyone else who is struggling to be believed that they were raped in the first place.

We need to do better, to be better. All of us. It’s not feminist to say that all men are trash. It’s misandrist. That’s the flip side of misogynist, which I also can’t stand. And I’m sick of seeing it everywhere, especially on twitter. Men are not better than women. Women are not better than men. We are all people, all of us are capable of being horrible, or being good. And I’m seeing way too much of people being horrible. It’s sickening. I wish we’d all stop and focus on what’s good in the world, what we can do to be good people, to be better, to do better.

Thank you for coming to my rant post.

Xoxo

Julie

A Very Satisfying Forest

[This entry is not sponsored in any way, just me talking about something I love]

I’m not talking about an actual forest, although I love real forests too. I’ve been using the app called Forest: Stay Focused, where you grow trees by not using your phone. Basically, you set a timer between 10 and 120 minutes, and click the button to grow your tree. Don’t touch your phone in the time you’ve set, or your plant will die. When it’s done, your phone will vibrate and you get the tree and coins that you can save and use to buy different styles of trees.

This week I’ve been using the app to stay off my phone during lectures, to stay focused when working on term papers and reading, and to keep myself from fidgeting with my phone when watching movies and TV with my boyfriend. I’ve got to say, it’s kind of addictive! Let me show you the forests I’ve made over the part week:

On Monday I didn’t grow a single tree.

On Tuesday I had 4 lectures consisting of two parts each, so I grew four of these Japanese cherry blossom trees, which I’ve bought with coins (you start out with only a flower bush or up to 20 minutes and pine trees from 25 to 120 minutes).

On Wednesday I had one 45min lecture, which is one of the trees in the picture above, and the rest are me working on an essay I needed to turn in on Thursday.

On Thursday I finished the essay and had one lecture consisting of two 45min sessions. I also needed to stir my dinner while it was boiling for 20min, hence the sunflower, which I’ve also bought using coins I got from growing other trees in the past.

Fridays I have classes for 6 hours in a row, but I only attended 4 this past week. However, I managed to get enough coins on Friday that I could buy a new tree, the yellow one, which I started using for TV and movies with my boyfriend that night.

Come this weekend, I got hooked on growing as much as possible, so I grew trees and sunflowers for every episode, movie, and YouTube video we watched. Notice how the same tree changes depending on how long you grow it for? I figured out that the tree gets a little “fuller” at 60min than it was from 25 to 55, then again at 90, and at 120 you get the full tree you see in the shop – for the yellow one you can see it’s a full 120min tree when there’s a little statue next to it (the cherry tree will get a tea table next to it).

Come Sunday, all I wanted was to grow even more trees than Saturday just to continue the trend I’d been working all week. Got pretty close to a full forest, too!

What do you do stop yourself getting distracted by your phone?

See you soon!

Xoxo

Julie

Things You Should Read

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is kind of different. I wanted to recommend some reading to all of my readers. If you’re not a book-reading kind of person, don’t fret; these aren’t book recommendations. And if that disappoints you – you should read them anyway.

The first thing you should read, is Do Nothing by Markus Almond. It’s about taking a timeout, to take care of yourself. If you like what you read, you should check out his other works, he has published a few books. At the end of last year I read his book These Are The Days, it’s a book of letters to a stranger every day for 100 days, and I really recommend it!

The second thing you should read, is Life Lessons from Mr. Boho Berry. It’s a blog entry, with 8 little things he has learned in life and that he thinks other people should know about. It’s very well written. There were things I didn’t understand or agree with when I read the headline, but after reading the text below it I completely agree with what he said (I’m talking about the no tv in the bedroom one, by the way, haha).

Thirdly, I think everyone should read You’re Allowed to Leave by Rania Naim. There’s a video below the text on that link as well. It’s kind of related to the Do Nothing post, I feel. And it hit me right in the feels right now. No one should feel guilty for leaving something that doesn’t improve their life. Leaving doesn’t necessarily mean quitting.

Lastly, here’s a tumblr blog entry called How To Grow The Fuck Up by user veux3. The link is from my tumblr profile, which I don’t use anymore. This entry contains a lot of links to things I, and many others, feel we should have learned in school but we didn’t. There are 7 categories – home, money, health, emergency, job, travel, and better you. I haven’t clicked on all the links to make sure they work, but I remember reading a few of them a couple of years ago and finding useful things, like how to take care of yourself when you’re sick, for example.

Happy reading!

~ Julie

(Social) Media

I sometimes wonder what I look like to others. What they would think if they saw me. Right now, I’m on the couch, and I’ve spent the entire night on my laptop and on my phone.

She must be lonely, I bet people would say if they were to look through my windows. She must not have anything better to do tonight.

When in actuality, I’m spending my night like this by choice, on purpose. True, I had no other things to do, but even if I had been invited somewhere I would probably have said no unless it was someone really close to me, someone important.

Social media. Social media. Just because I’m not physically hanging out with someone, doesn’t mean I’m not spending time with them. It’s not like I spend all the time I’m on my phone playing solitaire. I’m being social. “On the line” as an old woman once said.

I may be on the couch by myself. But my mind is with friends.