I’ve deleted most of the social media apps from my phone. Facebook is gone, Twitter is gone, and, after much debate, I’ve also deleted Facebook Messenger. I don’t use it to keep in touch with any “real-life” friends, which means that it’s highly unlikely anything time-sensitive will come through on that platform. It can stay relegated to my laptop, which I only open at work, never during my family or leisure time. I have kept the Slack app, which I use to keep up an ongoing group conversation with graduate school friends; for whatever reason, I have no problem checking this app only occasionally.
The biggest remaining problem is Instagram. This app is cleverly designed to only be truly accessible through a mobile device. It doesn’t display well on a desktop browser, and I don’t think you can post to it that way. The “stories” function makes it incredibly addictive, because unless you follow only a handful of people, there’s almost guaranteed to be new content every time you open the app, even if you open it every twenty minutes. It’s insane.
Should I delete Instagram? YES. YES I SHOULD. But I find that I can’t. Instead, I’ve moved the app to a hidden screen and set an alarm for when I can check it each day: 1pm, when I am either eating lunch at work or when both kids are napping at home.
In addition to deleting several apps, I’ve also downloaded a couple of new ones. These are Flipd, an app you can use to temporarily disable all other downloaded apps on your phone for set periods of time, and Calm, a meditation app that I’ve been using for guided meditation sessions and sleep. It is unconnected to social media, and its single-use nature makes it uncompelling to scroll through mindlessly. There’s nothing to do on it if you’re not going to do a meditation session.
My biggest realization is that I need to bring a book with me to work. I have periods of downtime, while I’m waiting for someone to send a task back to me or complete their part of a project, and I’m used to filling those little gaps of time with social media or random online scrolling. I could fill them with a few pages of a book I’m reading instead. I bet I could make significant additional progress on whatever I’m reading that way.