My very new, learning-as-I-go guide to putting down my phone and ruthlessly scrolling.
Like everyone else living in the 21st century; adolescents, the elderly, children and Gen Z, I am addicted to social media. I could be in the bath or dining at a restaurant, yet my iPhone will obstinately make an appearance at some point. It’s sometimes my toilet buddy, which is actually gross, but I’m sure for those who are reading this; you have found yourself in this predicament, too. I’ll unlock my phone without having to even look at it, (thanks for that, Apple), scroll a page and automatically click on a social media platform; normally Instagram. I’ll then proceed to tap highlights and scroll down with no actual interest. So, I’ve decided the meaningless scrolling is going to have to stop.
Step one: replace the scrolling with another activity. This step is the quick approach to get off your phone and fill your time with something wiser. We’ll dig deeper with the next step. This doesn’t have to be active, time-consuming or require any effort. There just has to be something to replace the scroll with. I choose reading almost every time. In fact, reading is probably the only entity that has my full attention for the duration of time. Even when I’m watching a film or programme, I’ll either check my phone, (read) or fall asleep. When I’m reading, reading is all I do.
Step two: why do you actually want to do this? What’s the reason that you can think back to when you ask yourself the almighty question: ‘wait, why am I even bothering to put my phone down?’ If like me, there are no boundaries that excludes your phone, I can help with this step. Getting your phone out in a restaurant looks rude. Taking your phone to the toilet is really unhygienic. Comparing yourself to people on social media (yes, we all do it, either consciously or unconsciously), is so easy yet so inane. Think of all the time you spend on your phone (you can see how much time you spend on each individual app under the battery on an iPhone – go look and scare yourself), and what you could be doing with that time. More importantly, why would you want to spend all your time on your phone? Maybe try having a real conversation in real life with a real person.
Step three: if you absolutely cannot trust your fingers to not unlock your phone and go onto social media, delete the app. I’ve trialled deleting Instagram from Friday night to Monday evening. Guess what happened? Yep, I fainted, couldn’t go to work and ended up in A&E. No. I didn’t even miss it! I didn’t give a !! what people were doing. Why did I re-download it again? It’s not so toxic that I shouldn’t live without it. I find the best recipes on there, makeup tutorials, hidden vegan food in supermarkets and of course like the photos by people close to me. I’m just trying to find the balance between aimlessly clicking on the app because I’m bored and actually wanting to go on it.
I’ve been trying to use my phone less since the start of 2019 and I’ve almost read four books. I read in my lunch break instead of analysing Twitter and observing Instagram. My battery lasts a whole day and I don’t feel myself comparing to anyone. You should try it.