Two weeks ago, I shared that I’d be participating in a challenge to get more creative by using my phone less.

While I didn’t become the Picasso I imagined I’d be by the end of six days (that was a reasonable expectation, right?), I did discover something far more powerful: the secret to adding an extra hour to my day.

As I learned, thanks to an app called Moment, in the five days before the Bored & Brilliant Challenge, I averaged about 194 minutes (3 hours, 14 minutes) a day on my phone. That’s the equivalent of watching Titanic every day! During the challenge, my average daily time dropped 66 minutes.

I had a full hour of time back.

So, what did I do with that time? Instead of swapping it for other screens (pinky swear!), in my phone-free time I:

  • Took notes by hand and doodled more (which actually helps comprehension, according to experts)
  • Took photos with my old film camera instead of Instagramming
  • Noticed a lot more about New York City architecture because I kept the phone in my pocket as I walked
  • Tried to build a house made of dollar bills and credit cards (yes, you read that right!)

These were all fun little experiments for me in my quest to boost my creativity, but if you, too, had an extra hour in the day, just think of what you could fill it with! You could:

Of course, not using your phone ever isn’t realistic, and I know that I’ll have some days when I fall back to old habits. But the lasting lesson of my Bored & Brilliant experience is that, by daring yourself to break the screen’s trance, you really can create more time in your day. And if you’re finding yourself craving that extra hour to start a side project, learn a new skill, or do what you enjoy, now you have a simple solution.

Download the Moment iPhone app or BreakFree for Android and keep an eye on your screen time, too.


Photo of man with watch courtesy of Shutterstock.