Taking back my attention

An experiment in intentionality.

When I last setup my iPhone I deliberately didn’t install the Instagram app. I’d already largely sworn off Twitter and ditched using my Facebook account completely after the birth of our first child. My FB account still exists though, more on that in another post. Instagram was, and, to a degree, still is a big source of distraction for me. It’s so easy to just hop on and have a quick scroll through.

Now, what I’m not doing is going on a cold turkey social media detox. I’ve found in recent weeks that Instagram and Twitter can be legitimately useful. A few weeks ago I found a new place to ride out to on the bike that I might not have considered had I not seen someone else’s Instagram post about it. I did, I rode there and it really was a fantastic wee spot less then 10 miles away.

Even with the native app not installed it’s so easy to just open up the web app - which is very very good these days. I find myself with a few short minutes of ‘downtime’, pop open Safari, have a mindless scroll, try to go back to what I was doing before.

What I’m trying this time is to block both Instagram and Twitter via the content restrictions in iOS 13 on my iPhone. I’m not giving up on them completely, I’m just forcing myself to use my laptop or iPad to access them. They’re not always right by me so I’ll hopefully be a bit more mindful and intentional about how and when I use the services.

I’ll update in a while to follow up on how the ‘experiment’ has gone.

I should also say I’m far from being the first to try or advocate such an experiment. I’m taking a lot of cues from (in no particular order) Make Time, Centre for Humane Technology, Cal Newport and plenty more I’m probably forgetting.