Bored and Brilliant: We Got Bored

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We made it through a week of Bored and Brilliant challenges. We've struggled through withdrawal and reveled in release. We've learned about ourselves and our reflexes. And here, we crunch some numbers and start to figure out what we learned. 

After this project, it's pretty clear: A subset of our society craves better harmony with technology. Unless we rethink how we make tech and how we use it, this subset will grow. We have pressure on tech companies into building apps and devices that fit into our lives, rather than taking them over.

On today's New Tech City, we've called in the experts to talk about why over 18,000 people signed up for a project designed to rediscover quiet, reflective time undisturbed by the constant flash of gadgets. Manoush presented our findings (see below for more) to Malia Mason, a cognitive psychologist and Associate Professor at Columbia University, and Golden Krishna, a user experience designer with Samsung and Zappos on his resume, and author of "The Best Interface is No Interface."

We gave them the data from our partner apps (Moment and BreakFree), your survey responses, and played them some audio testimonials from you. Listen to the podcast for more, of course, but here are some of our most intriguing findings:

A general note that these are all, of course, correlations and not necessarily causation – we don’t know what motivated each individual person’s stats, whether it was the Bored and Brilliant challenges, app reminders or something else.

  1. Total stats: The average decrease was 6 fewer minutes of phone use each day down from our baseline of two hours.
  2. The average decrease in phone checking was 1 fewer pickup per day. (See chart here).
  3. People felt like they made improvements: Over 90% of people who filled out our post-challenge survey felt they had cut down on their phone use, either "somewhat" or "a lot." 
  4. Confidence went up: People also felt more certain that they could change their phone habits. Nothing to sniff at here! Ninety percent of our post-challenge survey respondents felt "somewhat" or "very" confident that they could change, compared to 80 percent in a survey before the challenge week.
  5. Gamers made the biggest strides: People who said gaming was one of the top three activities they did on their phones managed to drop the most minutes. They cut down 20 minutes every day. Possibly because of the "Delete That App" challenge.
  6. Parents made big changes: Before the challenge week, parents logged more phone time on average than participants who do not have children. During challenge week, however, parents dropped more minutes compared to non-parents (10 fewer minutes for parents compared to 4 for non-parents).
  7. The challenge most people said they plan to continue is keeping their phones in their pocket (88%). People also thought “In Your Pocket” was the most useful challenge (45%).
  8. The second most popular challenge respondents plan to continue (50%) was "Delete That App" (or, presumably, keeping that app deleted). Most people said that this was the most difficult challenge (32%). 

This isn't over. We're brainstorming lots of Bored and Brilliant next steps, so please do stay tuned. And the beauty of this? Challenge week can happen any time.

Keep talking about your personal dilemmas, your smartphone tips, and your somehow-riveting boredom reads on our newly created Bored and Brilliant-specific Facebook group

And for now, hit play on the audio above and dive in. 

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