The battery on my iPhone sucks. Now, if you own an iPhone you know that there’s nothing wrong with my battery that isn’t wrong with everybody else’s iPhone battery. While I love Apple products, I recognize that they have a miserable battery life. But it’s not all their fault. The other day I realized that one of the reports I can view in the settings allows me to see some specific details about not only how much battery I’ve used but also how I’ve used it in terms of what apps are wasting my battery the most. Here’s what I came to learn; Twitter and my need for constant feedback are destroying my (battery) life.
Let me explain. Twitter accounts for 44% of my battery usage. HALF of my battery life goes to Twitter. This isn’t necessarily surprising, or avoidable for that matter. MOST of my business life is Twitter. I use it as a means to communicate with my clients and peers and I enjoy engaging on Twitter, something that seems like a novel idea to too many users. So that’s fine. I get it. I understand. If I’m going to use Twitter as one of the primary means of communication for my business life, I need to take my lumps. But what about that whole “constant feedback” thing?
Well, it turns out that 16% of my battery life is spent doing absolutely nothing. I don’t mean standby. I mean USING my phone to do absolutely NOTHING. I spend such an amazing amount of time just checking my phone because I’m afraid I’ll miss something. Now, this isn’t entirely my fault either. I keep my phone on silent because my two children would have a fit with a whole day of dings, chirps, bings and wingdoozles that constitute a day in the life of my phone. I also keep vibrate turned off unless I’m expecting a message that I really need to get because ironically (yes, I’m aware that I’m probably not using that right and I just don’t care) vibrate uses a lot of battery life.
But do I really need to know every few minutes if I have a message, a tweet, an email or a phone call? Not really. My clients are all perfectly aware of how I schedule my time and that I am not, nor will I ever be, their emergency IT contact. So what am I checking for? I’m checking because I LOVE getting messages. I love emails. I love tweets. I love DMs. I love texts. And as someone who spends most of his day time in the presence of two people with a combined age of less than 5, I like the occasional grown up communication.
However, everyone will tell you that I’m doing it wrong, including me. Don’t check your email every 5 minutes. Check it every hour, or every 2 hours, or every 5 hours, or whatever time period you determine. While I do think that Twitter should involve a significant amount of engagement and care, it’s not going to make a difference if I see if someone commented on my tweet about crosswalk safety NOW or an hour from now….
So here’s what I’m going to do. 30 minutes. That’s how often I’ll look at my phone from now on. And only that often because I get texts from my wife asking me to fix something immediately and she is my only emergency IT client. The lesson is, don’t check everything so often. You’ll kill your battery. You’ll kill your productivity. And chances are, none of it is nearly as important as you probably think it is.