A few days ago, I read about the distraction-free iPhone, an experiment started by Jake Knapp, Design Partner at Google Ventures, in which he decided to delete all the apps that usually sent him into a “limitless universe of everything” (Facebook, Instagram, Safari, e-mail, Twitter, etc.) and purposely turned his fancy smartphone into a very basic mobile device. It was supposed to be a one week experiment but he carried on for months and, one year after, it seems like he’s still very pleased with it.
To be honest, reading through Knapp’s arguments made the concept of a stripped down iPhone sound appealing to me, at least to a certain extent. However, I do have a bit of a problem thinking the only choice I have to keep myself from getting lost in my phone and surrendering to temptations of the hyper-connected world is knocking down every single door that can potentially lead to it. I sure must be able to handle this without downgrading my iPhone to StarTac level, right?
My home screen right now
Well, after one week, I’m happy to tell you that my digital detox is going better than I thought. The apps are still there but I stopped going through Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Instagram first thing in the morning, while still in bed as I used to, and I’m only checking the home screen to see if there are any messages from my family, which is the only thing that would require my immediate attention when I wake. If there aren’t any important messages, I’m not checking any social apps until I’m ready to leave for work. On the bus, I’m trying not to scroll through tweets, pictures and status updates and instead I’m trying to read a book or simply look out of the window, something I have always enjoyed to do, especially when it’s sunny.
During the day, I still keep a Facebook tab and a Gmail tab open in my browser, but I’m getting better at not checking them constantly. I’m also trying to prevent myself from reacting immediately after I see an Instagram or Facebook notification on my phone and I’m doing my best to wait until the end of the day and check everything in one go. I still struggle and get all fidgety, I still get distracted and jump from tab to tab on my browser, looking for something else to do halfway through whatever I thought I was interesting in reading about, but I’m making an effort to self-control. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but in general, I feel like I’m slowly reducing my compulsive phone checking.
That, my friends, is some serious progress.
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I just bought a book about game design on Amazon. It’s +500 pages and I’m sure it will take me ages to go through them, especially because I’m reading two other books at the moment, neither of which I have been able to get past the first couple of chapters. Why did I think it was a good idea to add one more item to my never-ending list of unfinished books? I have no idea.