Does your smartphone help you save or waste time?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: November 7, 2011

There is very little that cannot be accomplished from a mobile phone anymore. I used to rely on my computer for everything: browsing the Internet, social media, typing up and viewing documents, creating and keeping up with schedules, and even playing games. I was essentially shackled to a computer if I ever wanted to get something done.

Ever since I took the plunge and dove into smartphones, however, things have gradually changed. That was just before the smartphone world really took off, and from that point, smartphones have grown from slightly smarter feature phones to pocket-sized computers.

I still have to rely on my computer to do a few more laborious tasks like coding, hacking phones and roughly 10 percent of the article writing process. I now use my tablet – which is, let's face it, a blown-up smartphone – for typing out a large portion of my articles, school assignments, scheduling and leisurely Web browsing. I use my smartphone for essentially everything in between.

With ever-increasing capabilities, I have begun to use my phone for quite literally everything. In some ways, this is good. But that "everything in between" I mentioned above consists of a good bit of productivity, a lot of social media and some entertainment. Recently, I have started to take notice of just how much time I waste with my phones and tablets. (I've been on an "optimization" kick as of late and have started cutting out unnecessary things in my life – minimizing wasted time has largely been the goal.)

On an average day, I will use my phones (I currently carry two) mainly for social media and streaming music. Anywhere from four to five hours, collectively, goes into social media alone, and I'm almost always streaming music in the background. After I finish working for the day, my usage ramps up. I begin scouring Android Market and App Store for more apps that I can waste my money on, mobile games actually worth playing (shamefully open to suggestions here), taking tons of pictures I will never use nor look at again, texting, reading news and who knows what else.

And the worst of it all? Insomnia. I have no backbone when it comes to laying down in bed and sitting the phone on the night stand. Every buzz and every flashing notification LED keeps me up and simply cannot wait until tomorrow. Shutting down and waiting until tomorrow is undoubtedly the biggest problem to date.

All things considered, my phones do help me save some time on occasion. There are times where looking up something, purchasing something or even making reservations to a restaurant would take a lot more time if I did not have a smartphone. In that respect and in many ways, my smartphone does save time. But wasted time easily outweighs the saved.

In short, I always complain about not having time to do this or that, time that I could be exercising, planning for the next day so I don't work for 12 hours, or being a little more proactive when it comes to my personal or school life. My strong attachment – no, addiction – to mobile tech has invaded my life in almost every way. There are times that I try to disconnect as much as possible, where my phones sulk in standby for a day or two. But it never fails. When I return, I always make up for lost time by tweeting more or uploading and sharing pictures of my away time.

I'm curious, readers. Does your smartphone help you save time? Or are you a slave to your phone like me, and does it only make you waste more and more time? Do you ever feel the need to pull the plug and disconnect for a while?

Image via Hello Design