If You Want to be Happy, Choose Your Apps Carefully

Time Well Spent, a company focused on stopping technology platforms from hijacking our minds and our best interests first, teamed up with Moment, an app that tracks how much time you spend on your phone, to study the impact of using smartphone apps on our moods.

Time Well Spent asked 200,000 users to rate apps after seeing how much time they spent on them. The results were broken down into which apps made people the happiest, and which apps made users the unhappiest.

The results?

Two of the top three apps that made people the happiest were meditation apps, with Calm as the top ranked one. Among the top 10 there were some apps that I use frequently, including Google Calendar, the Weather, and Waze.

My wife uses a meditation app, so it looks like I’ll have to hop on the bandwagon and try out Calm. Look for a future post on my experience with the app.

At the other end of the spectrum, Time Well Spent also reported on the apps that made users the most unhappy. Of the top 1o vote-getters, the only app I’ve used that is on the list is Facebook.

It seems as if a key difference between the apps that make users either the happiest or the unhappiest is the amount of time spent on the app. It may seem ironic, but the apps that people spend the most time on tend to the the apps that have the unhappiest people. The top apps are generally used to help the user become more efficient, and thus users interact with such apps in an efficient manner.

So it looks like if I stop checking Facebook on my phone, and do a very short session of meditation, I’ll improve my level of happiness by leaps and bounds.

As noted above, I’ll let you know what happens if I try this approach.

I’d do it tonight, but given that I am falling asleep while composing this blog, I’m worried that if I tried the Calm app right now, I’d enter a deep sleep, and wouldn’t get up until tomorrow afternoon.

I’m also considering downloading the other app mentioned in this post, Moment, but I’m a little nervous about what the report will say about my smartphone habits…

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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