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Logging my phone use with tasker
Roel M. Hogervorst
2019-01-28
logging-my-phone-use-with-tasker
blog
tasker
intermediate
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In this post I'll show you how I logged my phone use with tasker, in a follow up post I'll show you how I visualized that.

I had a great vacation last week but relaxing in Spain I thought about my use of technology and became a bit concerned with how many times I actually look at my phone.

But how many times a day do I actually look at my phone? I used the android app tasker I bought and have used the app before, but I never really bothered to figure the app out. I did now.

Tasker can be used to automate many things in your phone, for instance turn on wifi when you're near a certain place, dim screen when it's late, mute the phone when you're in a meeting and many more things.

But in this case I wanted a simple way to track my phone use, as a proxy for phone use I have a counter that starts every day at 0 and increments with one everytime the screen is on.

How to do that:

  • In Profiles, create a new profile, with state: 'Display State On', give it a useful name f.i.: 'screen counter'
  • Then add a task, give that a name too, f.i. : 'update screen count'

That task has multiple actions, I set mine up to

  • wait for 4 seconds (a quick on and off does not count)
  • Variable add '%SCREEN_COUNT' value 1, wrap around 0
  • if you want to, you could flash a message
  • write file, give it a name, f.i. 'screenlog.csv' and create some text to write to that file. I used "screenlog";"%DATE";"%TIME";"%SCREEN_COUNT" and toggle append and add newline

This way the file gets appended with new screen counts everytime I open the phone, the resulting file is a ';' - seperated file where tasker replaces the %DATE etc with the current values So today it would write

"screenlog";"01-28-19";"21.27";"148"

For some reason the app sometimes writes in USA style date and sometimes in normal day-month-year style, so that gives me head aches, but it works reasonably well.

How to reset the counter?

I set up a new profile for that reason. Every day in the final minutes of the day a new task is run that resets the $SCREEN_COUNT to 0.