In my recurring review of how I am using my phone, I have decided to make some drastic changes.
I started reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport the other day, and last night, I came across a reference to an organization that was new to me. Time Well Spent is a movement created by the Center for Humane Technology to help people be more intentional about their use of technology. As I looked through their site, one suggestion they made was to turn your phone grayscale, and make it easy to do so using the Accessibility Shortcut to Filter Colors. A friend had done this before and advised me to do the same, so I had set up the shortcut, but rarely used it. I decided that I wanted this to be my default interaction with my phone. I will leave it on, and switch it off only intentionally, and for a short time.
As I thought more about the way I use my phone, I came to a few more decisions. I have found that as I write and publish more, I have begun caring more about whether people are commenting on my content. My use of Micro.blog has turned into compulsive checking and consumption. Part of the reason is that I value the interactions with real people that I have had, and I want to reply to people quickly. But, I have configured push notifications so that I will know when someone mentions me. There is no real reason for me to keep checking for mentions—it has just become habit.
So I decided to change the apps in my dock again. The last time I did that was at the beginning of the year, when I chose to only have apps without badges in my dock. I have found myself opening my phone and mindlessly consuming content, which is a behavior that I want to discourage. My first goal for this year is to be intentional. So I changed my dock again.
Calm, Ferrite, iA Writer, Day One
I wanted to only have apps in my dock that encourage the behavior I want to be doing most on my phone. I won’t always be meditating, podcasting, writing, or journaling when I open my phone, but having these apps in my face will be a subtle reminder. I want to use my phone more for creation than I do for consumption. When I am not creating, I want to make sure that I am being more intentional. I want to start using Spotlight to specifically search for the app I am going to use, and not just browse around on my phone looking for distraction.
I will see if this approach ends up being helpful or not for me. I know that what I have had in 2019 was better than 2018, but there was still room for improvement. Since that will always be the case, I expect to continue to make adjustments. This quote was from my daily meditation a few days ago, and while I might substitute “phone” for “thoughts,” this is exactly the attitude I want to cultivate.