Your phone is the hub of everything you do. And also everything you don’t. When you get some free time, you switch on the phone.
Not to look for ideas to do better work, improve or work on your passion. Rather you check messages which mean nothing. You are looking for an instant rush to cure boredom. You don’t want the stimulus to end.
And social media on phones have been designed to make sure you feel great. For clicking, scrolling and getting virtual currency. Since there is a number for everything, you can keep score. And although that means nothing – you derive status.
The game starts. You are losing. You don’t know yet. All the social media giants are laughing. Because you are doing all the work.
Your attention, data and time are what they cash on. And you give them willingly. Because you get short term happiness.
It works. Nothing bad as long as you are aware. Otherwise, you will feel there isn’t much time, the world is fine. And it’s okay if you don’t follow the passion. Slowly the fire in you to create will shun. And you no longer crave to create. Only consume. What is thrown at you. You have become a slave. And sometimes you regret.
The whole idea of the apps on your phone is to make you open them. So that either they can earn money from your attention or keep you engaged so you bring in more users. There is a bargain going on. And you should be aware of what you are getting in return.
For example, YouTube is promoting creators who create longer videos. So many creators are making longer videos. But not every time they have so much to share. So they talk nonsense or ramble so that their video qualifies as a longer video.
There isn’t anything you can do. But you know now that the social media are trying hard to keep you on their platform for a longer period. Even if it means, you are on the app unnecessarily.
You should know when to stop. And go back. But the system is designed in such a way that the new things keep popping up. And there is an infinite scroll. So you keep on checking things. Most of which are fueling your desires.
At the end of the day, you realize – you could have done better. But maybe next time. And the cycle repeats. Self-control is difficult.
There are apps which come to rescue. Want to solve your fitness problem, there is a fitness tracker. It sounds good. But if you are reliant on a fitness tracker for fitness then you are missing the point.
Sure, an app can tell you how many steps you took. But you know if you have been tired. Or you can go on around more.
Most of the people who use apps. Just check the stats. That’s it. Seems not useful to me. If you have a fitness tracker, it is useful to you only if you take action on the data provided. Or else, your life is the same. Just a few accessories have been added to your life.
There are apps to tell you that you are using too many apps. Well, that seems like adding oil to the fire. Yes, self-control is difficult. But the solution isn’t to add more apps to your profile so you can monitor how you use your phone.
You need to free your mind. Not rush your decisions. And let it guide you.
Delete, Reset & Reboot
If you don’t need something then delete it. If you are having difficulty in doing so then go ahead and reboot the phone. Factory reset it. So that it becomes like a new phone.
With no apps. No baggage. I do this exercise a few times in a year. Then I keep using the phone as regular. As and when I feel like I need to do something and I can’t find the app, I download it.
For example, I am going on the bus. I felt the urge to listen to music – I download the music app. And so on. By doing this exercise, I realize there were so many apps which I wasn’t using. And I don’t remember them or need them. My life is just fine. Better. Because the apps aren’t making me click them and I don’t dive into the rabbit hole.
Until after a few months, some apps which are bad for me gets downloaded. And I start to spend too much time on them.
But since I delete, reset and reboot my phone every quarter, I have my sanity in check. You can too. Remember, whatever your decision – you should be in control of how you should spend your time.
For most of the apps, there is a backup. And sometimes your whole phone is backed up on the cloud. Don’t go ahead and use that backup. Just download the app from the memory only when you need them.
Also, before deleting the apps, make sure they have the inbuilt backup in case you want to download them.
This exercise of reset works in two ways. One – you realize how you don’t require so many apps. And your life is better.
And second – what is the app which you love the most. I deleted the apps, all of them. And then my first app to install was notes app. But it didn’t have inbuilt back up. I got a heartache. I lost all my notes. I work with my notes a lot.
So although the notes are disappeared. I realized this is the most precious app for me. And now, I have downloaded the notes app with an inbuilt backup.
Sure, I didn’t make any backup. But I had to do it this way. So the exercise of detox is pure. For your information, my phone isn’t backed in the cloud. Only individual apps in their own cloud. So, I download only apps which I remember. And not a single not needed app.
For everything you value too much, remember to make backups. Rest are just temporary infatuation. Preserve your true love.