Shameless (un)Plug

Press button, swipe, passcode, swipe, swipe, tap, swipe up, swipe up, double tap, swipe up, double tap. Instagram.
Tap, pull to refresh, tap, reply, type, tap, pull to refresh, swipe down, swipe down. Twitter.
Tap, swipe down, swipe down, tap to like, tap to like, tap to block, some farm game. Facebook.

The feed—I find that so much consumption leaves little time for thinking, talking, relating, pondering. I’ve tried an experiment for the past few weeks and it’s made an impact on me.

Problem: Email

Even after I’d come home for the day I found myself opening my phone and checking my email multiple times an hour. Not only did it cut into my family time but I found myself more and more stressed. I was home, but I hadn’t yet removed both feet from the office.

Solution: Uninstall

Six weeks ago I deleted email off of my phone. WHAT! YOU LEAD A COMPANY DON’T YOU NEED ACCESS TO YOUR TEAM AND WHAT IF CLIENTS NEED TO GET IN TOUCH AND ISN’T THAT IRRESPONSABLE BLURGGITY BLURG WHEEEE OHHHH WEEEEE OOOOO!!!! You know what? My email is still there in the morning. To check my email now, I have to open my laptop, log in, open Airmail, etc…by far a more cumbersome process. It’s given me more time at home (versus just time in the home), and it’s significantly reduced my stress load. And if someone absolutely has to get in touch with you, I’ve found they still can.

Problem: The Socialz

The biggest time-sucks for me are the apps on my phone, and the worst times are weekends. I’ve made a conscious effort to not work over the weekend. It’s pretty harmless to just keep my phone with me while playing legos, or cooking a Fisher-Price dinner, or wrastlin’ in the yard right? It’s no biggie to just check the “feed” ever so quickly right? Come Monday, those little checks add up to one large bill.

Solution: Uninstall

For the past few weekends (and especially during last week’s family “staycation”) I’ve deleted all of those apps from my phone starting Friday and reinstalling them Monday morning. Initially I was amazed (and a bit disgusted) at how much muscle memory I retained for checking the feed — I’d literally get to my home screen and it would take me a few seconds to remember what I’d done, and why those apps are no longer here. But now, my phone sits stationary on the shelf much more often. I think I like that my phone is lonely now.

The action of uninstalling something, which means more time to reinstall it come Monday morning, is enough of a barrier, and a great reminder not to be tied so tightly to the feed. Try it sometime. And don’t just move the apps next to the “Apple” folder on the last screen thinking if you don’t see it you won’t use it. It’s just a few swipes of the thumb, that’s not enough of a deterrant. Try uninstalling, and unplugging for a night. Or a day. Or a weekend. Those little apps will scream in unrighteous indignation, but it’s worth it.

This weekend my wife and I are going away to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. If you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go tap-and-hold a few apps.