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12 Sep

Remove the rabbit-hole-apps

Datum: 2017-09-12 09:54

Have you ever sud­den­ly real­ized that you just spent much longer than you intend­ed brows­ing the Face­book feed, the Insta­gram feed, the Twit­ter feed, or any oth­er feed or flows you are prone to dis­ap­pear­ing into at the moment? Per­haps this hap­pens so often that you are begin­ning to get annoyed with your­self? It has def­i­nite­ly hap­pened to me. But not anymore.

Let’s fol­low Alice’s lead
I am def­i­nite­ly the first to praise new tech­nol­o­gy, and I do thor­ough­ly enjoy the texts, pic­tures and reflec­tions that oth­ers share. But, I have def­i­nite­ly found myself spend­ing too much time on these rab­bit-hole-apps”. We hap­pen to catch a glimpse of them and before we know it we have end­ed up in a place where time seems to stand still, and when we final­ly return to real­i­ty, the min­utes have in some strange way gone by quite quickly.

Tech­nol­o­gy on our own terms
Tris­tan Har­ris was, until recent­ly, the prod­uct philoso­pher” at Google, where he ini­ti­at­ed the move­ment he referred to as Time Well Spent” — an attempt to align tech­nol­o­gy with human­i­ty, and enjoy the new tech­nol­o­gy with­out being dis­tract­ed by it. He recent­ly shared sev­en tricks for a dis­trac­tion-free use of phones on his blog that nar­rows down what the ini­tia­tive is all about. His first trick made a dif­fer­ence to how I use my devices, so I want to share it with you as well.

We see it, we do it
One cru­cial rea­son for why we fall into the rab­bit-hole-apps is sim­ply that we see them on our phone’s home screen. This sim­ple con­clu­sion is in line with the results Suri and Gross found after a study pre­sent­ed in the arti­cle The Role of Atten­tion in Moti­vat­ed Behav­ior” in 2015, name­ly that what we choose to do is heav­i­ly influ­enced by what we hap­pen to lay our eyes on — some­thing that reminds us of an alter­na­tive to what we are doing, such as a sign, an icon, or a text.

The sim­ple solu­tion is there­fore to move the apps we want to stay clear of out of sight, so that we only see them when we real­ly, con­scious­ly want to.

Do this
If you want to do some­thing about this par­tic­u­lar phe­nom­e­non, then do this:

  1. Have a look at you phone’s home screen, mean­ing the screen you usu­al­ly see when unlock­ing the tele­phone. What apps do you then see that you wish you spent less time leisure­ly browsing?

  2. Move these apps onto the next screen, so that they are no longer vis­i­ble on the main home screen”.

  3. Instead you should move the apps to the main home screen which you:
    • use often, since they con­sti­tute actu­al tools”
    • would want to use more often, but just haven’t start­ed using 

  4. Try this for a week or two, and ask your­self if it made any dif­fer­ence to you.

  5. If you want more ideas along these lines, read the rest of Tris­tan Har­ris’ arti­cle.

Time for the right things
If you by per­form­ing this sim­ple oper­a­tion avoid falling deep into cer­tain apps, you will instead spend more time doing what you actu­al­ly wish to invest your time in. Rather than wast­ing your time on quite point­less things, you will have more focus for the tasks that you will lat­er thank your­self for hav­ing done. Time well spent, to quote a mod­ern philosopher.

Allow me to empha­size that that this tip is by no means a mor­al­iz­ing on each and every one’s usage of apps or their phones. We are all free to do what­ev­er we choose, even things that are sup­pos­ed­ly use­less”, but I would rather con­scious­ly decide when I delve into the more unpro­duc­tive apps and pro­grams, instead of acci­den­tal­ly open­ing and being devoured by them when the tim­ing isn’t perfect.

What’s your trick?
How have you con­scious­ly rearranged your home screen? Do you abide to oth­er prin­ci­ples than those pre­sent­ed by Tris­tan Har­ris? Write a com­ment and share your tip.