Join me in deleting some apps off your phone

Overview: I want to reduce the amount of time I spend mindlessly scrolling my phone. So I am. Join me and together we can free our minds!! Or at least get a few minutes back each day. Reading time ~ 3 minutes.

I recently enjoyed this video from one of my YouTube subscriptions. The guy (and often his wife) try out different life hacks and report back.

The picture is a little misleading. They both kept their smartphones, but deleted apps from their phones that were mindless time sinks, that is, apps they spent a lot of time using but added little value to their lives. They only allowed themselves to use those apps when they were specifically sat down at their computer.

Mild spoiler: they found it a good experience overall. But I suggest watching the video to witness the full story.

I have a few of these apps on my phone. Some are social media apps which consume more time than I’d like (e.g. Twitter, Insta). Others are news apps with endless stories cultivated to increase the likelihood of me clicking (Google News).

I often find myself mindlessly scrolling those apps when I could be focusing on anything else of value (reflective thinking, watching nature, interacting with people). Sometimes it seems like I have an aversion to being left alone with my thoughts.

To be clear, it isn’t that all those apps are bad. I use Twitter as part of my work and there is a rich collection of Flinders academics on Twitter, but I find myself spending more time on their than I’d life, and that is because of the convenience of being on my phone.

So I started wondering whether I’d find benefit from taking them off my phone. I suspect I will, with my views strengthened by studies like this showing potential benefits of relatively short (i.e. 1 week) breaks from social media.

So I’m doing it, and I’m inviting you to join me. If you think there are apps on your phone that you could take a break from, let’s do it together!

What I will remove

I’m going to be removing Twitter and Instagram and disabling my news services. I plan to do this for at least a week, and probably longer. Having these removed will mean that 90% of times when I go to pick up my phone to mindlessly scroll, I won’t have anything to look at and so I will be required to focus on something else. I am expecting that adjustment to take a little while. I will continue to use Twitter when on my desktop but I am happy to have a break from Insta for a while.

I have kept apps that I utilise regularly that I believe enhance my life: meditation apps, podcasts, audiobooks and music. I will try to use those apps (particularly the meditation apps) when I have spare time that I would normally use to scroll social media.

I have also kept chat apps available as I don’t find myself overusing them and given that I work remotely most of the time, they remain an important connection point for me.

Join me!

If you’d been looking for an excuse to change your mobile phone habits, here it is.

Share your intended deletions/changes and resultant experiences in the comments below.

I’ll be back on here in a couple of weeks to report on how it went.

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Gareth experiments on self

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