How to break up with your phone by Catherine Price

I read this book during lockdown in 2021 and at the time, I rated it 4.5*. Based on how much the concepts stayed with me and how much I still recommend this book, I have now moved it to a full 5* rating.

How to break up with your phone

I think most people lie to themselves about their phone usage. I used to do the same until I used the Moments app and these days iPhone helpfully sends me the screen stats to shock me every Sunday morning.

Why did I want to read this book?

My phone usage at the time was abysmal. And, as I’ve said before, we could all literally finish a book every four and a half hours if our phone usage was reasonable.

About the book

The book is divided into part 1 – the research, which is very interesting and easy to read – and part 2 – the how to, practical part.

I don’t care too much about the numbers these days because I now recognise after reading this book that most of what I use my phone for are tools like Goodreads, Mail, Camera, etc., but I’d be fooling myself if I didn’t admit that the Instagram dopamine hit is strong.

Did you know that they purposefully update likes and notifications erratically to keep us swiping and checking? Of course, once I found that out, I channelled my inner rebel and consciously don’t do it.

That’s just one of the things she talks about in the book.

If you watched the Social Dilemma on netflix a few years ago, you will recognise a lot of what is said here, but the book is still a solid, 5🌟 read.

Now for the fun!

my iphone screen

Three things that really, really help me:

  1. I can’t help thinking that I would rather have read a book than scroll some random person’s Instagram feed – that definitely helps me to stop the mindless scroll.
  2. Put your screentime widget on your front screen of your phone (see top left of screen above). Every time you pick up your phone and are confronted with your daily usage, you might reconsider what you intended to do. I added this widget in the second week of January this year and my screentime has gone down from 7 hours 11 to somewhere between 3 and 4 hours on average. More importantly, my Instagram usage has radically decreased. Here’s how to do it for Android phones.
  3. Put all your social media apps on page 2 of your phone. If you keep your tools on page 1 of your phone, you’re less likely to go straight to Instagram, Facebook, etc. Facebook is not on my phone and I maybe spend 10 minutes a month there via the web, and it’s all birthday check-ins.

Does your screentime usage bother you? Have you added the widget to your front page yet?

Are you a time pessimist?

One of the main reasons many of us feel overwhelmed is because we’re not getting around to doing all we want to do, or we think we should be able to do more than we currently do.

I regularly meet women who think they should be able to work full-time, go to the gym 5 days a week, cook from scratch every day, spend hours reading with their kids every day and spend an hour a day on their own hobbies.

It’s not going to happen unless they don’t need much sleep.

A time optimist is someone who thinks they can do more in a specific period of time than an average person can realistically do.

I’ll confess – I’m often a time optimist in my personal life. Those weekend to-do lists with 15 tasks when I realistically am only going to be home a couple of hours on Saturday or Sunday? Time optimism.

It’s really strange since I’m usually a time realist in my work life:

– I know that things happen unexpectedly in the traffic so I need to leave extra time to get anywhere.
– I know that if I think I can see 5 people and sort out 5 issues in an hour, I’ll probably only be able to realistically do 3 or 4 because of other interruptions, people in meetings or on lunch, etc.
– I know that when arranging meetings, I have to be flexible so the most important agenda items are discussed in case we run out of time.

A time realist is realistic about how long things take and buffers in time when necessary.

Back to my time optimism though.

When I put 6 things on a list and therefore only manage two of them because I know full well I have a really busy day…I’m being a time optimist.

I think things will go quicker than they inevitably do, or that I’m Superwoman and can do those things quickly.

And yet I often tease my husband because he’s a true time optimist.

He always thinks he can get much more done on the weekends and is then disappointed when we only get to do one or two things.

The time pessimist thinks there’s never enough time to do anything – read, organise, do fun things – so doesn’t even try.

It’s no secret that there are many time pessimists all around. This is one of the reasons I wrote the book (31 Days of Enough Time) which you can get by following the links in my sidebar.

How about a few quick examples?

You have 15 minutes before a meeting.

Time optimist – “I can probably get 10 emails done if I do them really quickly”

Time realist – “I can answer 2 long emails or about 5 quick ones”

Time pessimist – “15 minutes? No point me starting an email. I’ll just get started and have to stop”

You’re invited to join a once-a-month book club.

Time optimist – “Great! I can probably read 4 books a month even though I only read 3 total last year, during my holidays”

Time realist – “If I set aside 20 minutes a day, I can easily get through a book every month. Sign me up”

Time pessimist – “No, thank you. I don’t have any time to read because I work and I have two kids. Yes, I’m on Facebook but that’s my relaxation time”

So, are you a time optimist, a time realist, or a time pessimist?

How can you become more of a time realist?

We all have 15 minutes

One of the biggest organising myths is that you need a big chunk of time to organise anything.

That’s simply not true.

I actually don’t know many people who happen to have hours and hours free for the purpose of organising.

The thing is, with anything in life that is important to you, you have to make time. I wrote a whole book about this concept – get it here.

One of the ways you make time is by using up all the little bits of time throughout your day.

Even if you think you have no time, I guarantee there are bits here and there.

If you start looking for those treasured moments, you’ll realise you can get a lot more done.

I remember when my kids were just newborns I thought I’d never have time to myself again.

Then I realised that I had 5 minutes here, another 10 minutes there and so on.

I could read one article in a magazine in those 5 minutes and maybe even churn out a blog post in the 10-minute stretch.

All that time adds up if you’re ready to take advantage of it.

It’s the same with organising.

You may not have an hour to organise a chest of drawers but if you find 15 minutes a day for 4 days, you do have that hour.

A change of perspective = opportunities

Flylady says, “you can do anything for 15 minutes”.

Here are a few quick ideas:

• Straighten your cutlery and/or utensils drawer
• Edit and delete photos (one of my ongoing projects to use a “spare” 15 minutes) from your phone
• Declutter a pile of paper
• Tidy your handbag or wallet
• Organise your spices
• Declutter your recipe folder

See? There are indeed 15-minute slivers of time all around us if only we’ll just look for them.

Make a list of 10 or more quick organising projects you can do in 15 minutes and get started today.

Are you an all or nothing person? Do you tend to look for the big chunk of time versus the little bits?

{Intentional living} Luxury

A few weekends ago I spent a very nice afternoon-evening fully immersing myself in a book. I started the book over breakfast after gym, took a break decluttering kids’ clothes and had a lunch date with Dion, and then in the afternoon I read…. until I finished that night. I took a brief break to make tea (pictured) and to whip up supper, and then back to the book.

While I’m a very avid reader and I read daily, the kind of reading where I can go past the point of no return and just keep reading without stopping is extremely decadent.

Lazy Saturday afternoons are the best! #SWEETDELIGHTS #AugustBreak2015

A photo posted by Marcia Francois (@marcia0608) on

It’s a luxury to me.

Gretchen Rubin wrote a blog a few weeks ago asking about people’s idea of luxury.

The idea of luxury is interesting because it’s so different for each of us.

I guess I’d consider luxury to be the resource in short supply for a current life situation.

  • When the babies were newborns, luxury was drinking a whole mug of tea and have it be hot all the way through.
  • Because I don’t live at the beach, taking a walk on the beach or going to sleep with the sound of the waves crashing is a luxury to me.
  • Time to work proactively these days is a luxury

When I first started thinking through this concept of luxury, my first thought was “time” but because I genuinely feel that there is enough time for all of us, I thought that couldn’t be it.

So then, what is luxury for me?

It’s the completely getting lost in a book, going for a walk at 4:30 in the afternoon with my camera, playing in the kitchen for two hours.

But who said I couldn’t do these things?

No-one except me.

So I resolve to do more of this luxurious living, getting lost in a book one weekend a month, coming home early to get in that walk and then catching up in the evenings when the light is gone, postponing the tidying in favour of creating in the kitchen.

That’s some luxury I can for sure bring to my life.

How about you? Are you designing your ideal life?

{31 days of enough time} Final thoughts on having enough time

Can you believe it? This is the last day of the series and it’s been FABULOUS!

I got what I wanted out of it, which is the discipline to get something up every day this month.

Moreover I could actually write every day for another 2 months which is exciting to know since time management is my thing.

31 days of enough time |

If you missed some (or a lot of) posts, simply click this link (or the 31 days of enough time label under each post) and you’ll be able to read all the posts in order.

I hope that you were inspired, motivated and challenged to take a different course of action.


This was the plan for the month:

Mondays – something to challenge your thinking

Tuesdays – favourite time management books

Wednesdays – a full-length article so something a bit meatier

Thursdays – my favourite time management tools

Fridays – time management myths

Saturdays – practical tips to create enough time

Sundays – inspiring quote on a pretty picture (all taken by me)

31 days of enough time |

You have enough time

Now that you’ve read for 31 days, what next?

Well, it takes time to embed new habits. When I embarked on my own time management journey, it took me three months to change my old thinking patterns and solidify good habits.

You’ll probably have the same experience.

I have a few other resources to help you on your journey:

And because of my increased focus on time, I saw and read a few great things on the internet this month.

This post by Penelope Trunk was my favourite one of all. And this quote is seriously my favourite one on time.

saying no |31 days of enough time |

Everything I’ve written over this month has boiled down to this one thought:

There’s enough time for everything you want to do but you have to get clear on exactly what you want, and get happy not doing everything else.

Until then, life will continue to be frenetic and you will continue to be frazzled 🙁

31 days of enough time |

Which was your favourite post (or series of posts) in the series?

PS Please share on social media if you’ve enjoyed a post… it’s encouraging for me to feel like what I’ve written has actually impacted one or two people.

{31 days of enough time} Weekly planning

There’s nothing better than the feeling of having a clear, worry-free mind.

Mental clutter is heavy!

For me, a big contributor to not having a lot on my mind is getting things down in one place.

That means writing down my monthly goals and then, the secret to my success, using my weekly planning system.

weekly planner 31 days of enough time |

Click the picture to download your free weekly and monthly goals planner

It’s the best thing – it feels like there’s more time because there is – a whole week to get things done.

If I feel like I want to do nothing on 2 – 3 days, that’s fine, I have 4 – 5 more 🙂

Some things that work for me:

  1. I use a form of Eat the Frog with my weekly planning too. I put my “heaviest”, most important tasks at the beginning of the week which is why, if any of my friends are reading, I almost never agree to do anything fun on a Monday or Tuesday. Those days are for “heavy lifting”.
  2. I plan things throughout the week so that each day feels light and I never feel burdened or overwhelmed.
  3. I always plan fun things too, like playing with photos.
  4. I don’t make a huge list – I try not to have more than 10 things total, for both business and personal. That’s a comfortable number for me most weeks.

Weekly goals | Organising Queen

Do you do any weekly planning?

Tell me about your system, otherwise do try some weekly planning next week and let me know how you like it. It might not work for you and that is A-okay – I’m not a one size fits all coach 🙂

31 days of enough time |

Click here to download the no-fuss monthly and weekly planner

{31 days of enough time} How to say no…

This is my favourite book on saying no!

Sometimes when I read books targeted at women, I get a bit irritated at the tone… because some authors  tend to assume that we’re all the same type of woman and forget about taking into account that we’re all unique.

Not this one.

This is an easy read full of practical advice.

I really loved how this book spoke to me. Matter of fact, I haven’t read it for a few years and now I’m thinking I need to have a re-read.

Do you have a problem with people-pleasing, sticking to your priorities or over-commitment?

Get How to Say No…and Live to Tell About It: A Woman’s Guide to Guilt-Free Decisions and give it a read.


31 days of enough time |

Have you read this book?

What is your favourite time resource?

{31 days of enough time} Being present vs FOMO

I heard this lovely little acronym a few months ago.

FOMO – fear of missing out

And I could relate.

I’ve experienced it a couple of times usually when I chose one thing (time with my family) over another and then saw friends having fun without me (imagine that!) on social media.

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It’s hard because both things are generally good things.

But one thing was the best (and right thing for me) at the time.

Lysa Terkeurst has a new book out called The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. I haven’t read it yet but I’m a fan of hers so I will read it soon-ish. By the way, I also recommend Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions.

Has this fear of missing out happened to you?

Some of us would try and do all the things to avoid missing out, and have to be in 2 – 3 places.

Running yourself ragged, my friends, is not the path to Enough Time.

Rather choose your best yes and be present in the moment.

The last time this happened to me I had to tell myself (out loud) that I chose something else and then not look at Instagram the rest of the day.

How do you deal with FOMO?

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{31 days of enough time} Reality

Reality always wins |

31 days of enough time |

{31 days of enough time} Menu planning, even for spontaneous people

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – menu planning saves me HOURS of time every week.

I started menu planning in 2006 when I “met” Laura and her Menu Planning Mondays, and I haven’t looked back since.

Menu planning is how I have enough time during the week for blogging, playing with the kids, going to Spanish, cooking healthy, nutritious meals, etc.

31 days of enough time |

My new job means I have an additional 20-minute commute both ways… and I don’t like to eat late so menu planning has become a foundation for my organised home. I’ve committed both to myself and our nanny that I will always have the entire week’s menu planned out so that she can prepare anything we’ve agreed on. For instance, if I put “chicken a la King, rice and carrots” on the menu, Nanny S knows to cut up carrots and have them ready so I can just cook them.

I’ve always batch cooked so I have a number of meals in the freezer at all times. The key is to keep the freezer inventory up to date so I know when I need to cook a new batch of food.

As an indication, I planned out a full two week’s meals without needing to cook anything new….that kind of pre-cooking won’t work forever but I definitely like at least a week’s worth of meals in the freezer.

31 days of enough time |

Did you know that meal planning works for both structured and unstructured people?

Here’s how you do it:

  1. For the structured people, simply make your meal plan for weekdays or the full week. Shop for all the groceries and then try to stick to your menu as closely as you can. If you feel like switching things around, there is still the freedom to do so.
  2. For the unstructured people, make a list of 5 – 7 meals and make sure you have the ingredients for all of those meals. On the day, see what you feel like cooking and do it (then cross off that meal). Do the same thing every day…. or not (it’s your life; don’t feel pressured and definitely don’t feel guilty for not making one of the meals on your list if you no longer feel like doing that one). Benefit – you have a loose plan but you’re not tied down to a specific meal on a specific day.

Do you menu plan?

How does your system work?

31 days of enough time |

PS There’s a menu planner in the free Time Management Purpose Pack.

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