Earlier this year I shared what I did to make my smartphone less “smart” (Digital Minimalism in 2024). Since then, our family has faced some unexpected challenges that pushed us into survival mode, and naturally, our screen time increased, including mine. 

This experience made me realize the unique challenges we face at different stages of our journey from merely surviving to truly thriving, especially regarding phone usage.

In this week’s episode, I delve into these challenges and how becoming aware can lead to positive changes.

Challenges with Phone Usage on the 5-Step Path from Surviving to Thriving

  1. Survival Mode: Increased screen time, watching more movies with the kids, zoning out with shows or scrolling.
  2. Re-entry: This is when we feel the most overwhelmed and tired, so we use phones as an easy escape. But this only prolongs the process of re-entry.
  3. Normalizing: Rewarding ourselves with screen time after a good day, leading to late nights and inconsistent routines.
  4. Exploring: Spending excessive time on phones researching or learning, starting with good intentions, but often getting trapped in endless scrolling.

Each stage presents its own set of challenges, slowing down our progress.

Changes I’ve Made To My (Android) Phone:

  • Niagara Launcher (free version)
  • No Chrome/Internet
  • Essential apps only: phone, texting, calendar, Google Maps, Notion (for work), church directory, scriptures, LibriVox, Libby, Marco Polo, Kajabi (for courses I’ve bought)
  • Put my phone away instead of carrying it with me


  • Increased productivity (even with insomnia)
  • Solving problems caused by a lack of connection by being present with my kids
  • Tackling household issues together with my kids because my phone is put away

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From the Episode

2024 Thriving in Motherhood Planner

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