Recently, I’ve been reflecting on how I use technology — more specifically, how I use my phone.

I’ve realised that everything I do on my phone falls into two categories:

  1. Treats: Things I find interesting, fun, or give me dopamine
  2. Chores: Things that I am obligated to do

This is a really good way to categorise my screen time, because it allows me to distinguish between using my phone when I want to vs. using my phone when I have to. Ideally, I’d like to reduce the amount of time I spend on the former.

Interestingly, I’ve found that things which should be chores, for example checking my messages or notifications, have started to become treats — I get a dopamine rush from doing them.

I think if I want to cut down my phone use, I need to start consciously treating these things as chores instead. The only reason I do them should be because I have to do them.

And for everything else? I can recognise that it falls into the treats category, and spend time on better and more fulfilling things than small dopamine rushes instead.