How would you feel if the genie from Aladdin came to visit you and said that he could grant you one wish? While an unlimited supply of cash or Oreos are off the table, the wish that could be granted is adding an extra month on to your year. And not just this year, but every year left in your life.
Imagine what you could achieve. You could spend an extra month with your family and friends, you could secure that promotion through fitting in four extra weeks of work (compared to all of your time-challenged teammates), or you could binge-watch 30 seasons worth of shows on Netflix. Time is the thing we all want more of, but we are seemingly stuck with what the world has given to us. No amount of money can buy you more time. Until now.
Call me your genie, as I am about to grant you this wish. There is just one little catch. You need to tame your addiction to your smartphone. Because if you are like the average smartphone user, you are using your phone about four hours per day. While some smartphone use can be helpful in not getting lost, answering phone calls and booking things like cars and appointments, other uses are pretty much time wasters. For example, research collated by MediaKix suggests that around half of that time — nearly two hours — is spent on the top five social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter).
Over the course of the year, that translates to 30 full days — that is, one whole month — spent watching, reading and clicking on things that probably are not significantly improving your life. In fact, it might actually be having the opposite effect. A review of studies published about cell phone addiction suggests heavy smartphone usage is associated with a ton of unfortunate things, such as lower self-image and self-esteem, neuroticism, not to mention higher levels of anxiety and stress and poor sleep.
Now, this 30-day figure assumes you are also checking social media through the night. Hopefully, things haven’t got that bad yet. So really, if you sleep an average of eight hours per day, you are actually using your mobile phone to check social media for 45 days every year. And as your pseudo-genie, may I suggest that you kick that habit — or at least pull it back by an hour and 20 minutes. And bingo — your wish will be granted.
And if you are keen to find out whether you are addicted to your smartphone, check out the Centre for Internet and Technology Addiction’s Smart Phone Addiction Test.
This story originally appeared in Entrepreneur.