If I Could Turn Back Time

Adam Hillis
4 min readJan 29, 2017
Nokia 3310

Life never seems to slow down. Even when on vacation I’m thinking about how crazy my first week back to work will be. Quite often the first day back will make me wish I didn’t even take a vacation in the first place.

But it’s not just work that keeps us busy.

Spending time with my wife, my kids, working a part-time 2nd job, trying to find time to write, pay the bills, walk the dog, go grocery shopping, and on and on.

There are days I wonder if I’ll make it. Or when I do make it through the day I look back and wonder how.

But the truth is, when I look at my entire day there is a lot of wasted time, though it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.


Yesterday morning I woke up late and immediately started getting Asher ready for school. Breakfast made, clothes on, lunch packed, and out the door. On the way back I pulled over and answered a couple of work emails I saw ping my phone.

When I got home I made breakfast for Lisa, Abel, and myself. Then I worked for almost an hour at my part-time job. We all piled in the car to pick Asher up from school and do a Costco run. Upon landing back at home we unloaded the car, got the boys snacks, and it was nap time.

The day had felt non-stop.

During naps I put in another 30 minutes of work, then attempted to rock our 2-year-old to sleep because he’s sick and can’t fall asleep with a stuffy nose.

Naps are difficult and I was unsuccessful.

By now I’m hungry. While eating my snack I sat down to take a break and dink around on my phone. I planned for 10–15minutes, then I’d get up and write.

Next thing I know 40 minutes has gone by.

The boys are about to get up from naps! How did I waste so much time?

The Time-Suck

In addition to this wasted block of time, I looked back on my day. Throughout all the craziness of the first 6 hours I probably touched my phone 50 times. I checked emails, texts, Twitter, ESPN, Instagram, and news. But I was never on my phone longer than 2 minutes.

A recent article I read said the average American spends over 5 hours a day on their phone. But the most insane part is that more than half of that time is done in 30 second bursts.

Using that statistic, touching my phone 50 times meant I wasted about 25 minutes or more.

Phones are the biggest time-suck in the world.

For me, the phrase “I just don’t have time” really isn’t true. I do have time. We all have time. But we’re not managing it well, and it makes us feel extra crazy. For me, I know the biggest mismanagement is with this Android device I carry everywhere.

Steve Jobs and Apple inventing the iPhone sent the world into a technological revolution. Since then the smart phone has been one of the greatest inventions known to man. But it’s also one of the biggest destroyers of our time.

I can’t think of anything else in my life that I use more for both good and bad. I have limitless information in the palm of my hand, but that access means I’m always using it. I’m wasting time.

Whether it’s reading, playing games, listening to music, casting videos to my TV, or posting a picture to social media, my phone is constantly working for me. It’s always in the middle of everything I do.

How inefficient is my day with all of these little interruptions?

The Change

I’m old enough to remember life before phones. My first phone was at age 18. It was the Nokia 3310 that virtually everyone in the world had. It made phone calls, sent texts, and had the game Snake.

Life was much simpler. We were just happy to be able to answer the phone from our car. We didn’t need the world in our hands.

In an experiment to see how much more efficient I can be with my time, I’m going to turn back time to those simpler days of Nokia.

From now through the end of February (30 days) my phone will be used for phone calls and texts only. I don’t have Snake, so that means no games.

I’m not swearing off technology, or social media, or email, or anything like that. But I won’t use it on my phone. If it’s something I want to do it will be done purposefully. I will have to dig out my laptop from my backpack and sit down to do it.

The 50 interruptions of 2 minutes or less that happened yesterday wouldn’t have happened if I constantly had to go to a computer instead of pull out my phone.

I’m going to take my time back and see what else I can do with it rather than sit on my phone. I won’t be interrupted with several small moments, but will be purposeful with my time.

Does your phone or something else interrupt you through the day? How do you take control of your time? Let me know in the comments.

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Adam Hillis

Helping course creators who can't afford a copywriter fix their sales pages || Certified Direct Response Copywriter || Married 16 years, most of them happy