Shashwat Pradhan Shashwat Pradhan

Instant: Self-Improvement with the Quantified Self

Analytics are the best way of making data driven decisions. Quantified Self is personal analytics to track body & behavioural change. To begin with device usage time tracking was the main use case of Instant– providing data to the user making him/her more aware and conscious of smartphone usage. By this our users can balance out their lives by keeping the smartphone usage in check. Similar to what fitness trackers do for users. We were able to validate this notion of self-improvement using some data and help from the academic community.

This spring at California State University, as a part of the course “The Global Impact of Technology” students used Instant to track the time spent on their mobile phones and also how many times the device was unlocked. Using Instant on iOS and Android devices, students were able to track their device usage and unlock count. We got a dataset of almost 200 students.

There was a set of students that kept track of device usage using Instant while another set of students were told to keep track of several things that they did (time on computer, watching tv, etc) as a validation. As expected, those who used Instant to track their usage used the device for a lesser amount of time.

Done by hand: Mean = 210 minutes per day (SD=180)
Done on Instant App: Mean = 191 minutes (SD = 102)


The number of unlocks were 57.5 per day which translates to an average of 3.3 minutes per unlock. That means each time a person checks their phone, it is for 3.3 minutes on average. That’s a pretty good engagement factor!

Professor Dr. Larry Rosen from CSU is using this data as a way of assessing classroom performance, along with a new measure called as “Classroom Digital Metacognition” which asks questions about how students use their devices in the classroom.