About a year or so ago now I'd noticed a habit-forming; every morning I'd wake up when my alarm went off, the first thing I'd do was check Facebook, then Instagram, then Twitter. Sometimes I'd go back to Facebook to see if anyone had posted anything in the last 10 minutes. What the crap am I doing with my life?
Now I know these apps' sole purpose is to drive engagement, and I've read countless articles about how they are bad for your mental health. This morning habit I had noticed started making more aware. I caught myself checking my phone every 20-30 minutes throughout the day some times even more often - Facebook was the worst for this.
For me Facebook is a bad place, it makes you feel like you have to be friends with everyone; people I went to school with but haven't spoken to in 10 years, people whose opinions I cannot even assign any value to what so ever but feel I have to read and engage with. Jake, I don't give a shit if one of your 15 cats has pissed on the kitchen floor AGAIN.
After a few weeks of 'umming' and 'ahhing', I decided to delete my social media, brutal but effective. I'll be honest I wasn't that brutal about it, Facebook went completely, I mean fully deleted, not that half-arsed sleep mode they offer you, but a full delete. Instagram I put into retirement, I didn't want to fully delete as I had some nice pictures of my daughter on there that my family can see. Then there was Twitter, honestly, I didn't delete Twitter it's too intertwined with the development industry, I felt like I'd genuinely get a little left behind if I just deleted it, so I left it but what I did do was to remove all social apps from my phone, so I wouldn't get reminders anymore or see the little notification count icon next to the app.
It was weird, and it was hard, I still wanted to check stuff, but the barrier for entry was much higher now. I had to use a browser, I had to log in, it was enough to put me off. I've heard Jeffery Way talk about the same thing and got some of my pointers from his podcast; Laracasts Snippet.
After a few more weeks the feelings have gone and I was free, I felt loads better in myself, I didn't know or want to know about what others were up to, I felt more free and present.
There is another reason I wanted to write all this out; I might be social media free(ish) but I slowly replaced my checking of social media with checking news articles.
I wonder if this whole constant checking runs deeper? Perhaps it needs something more to break it? Is it a habit or am I wired this way?
I've got some other ideas I'm going to try out and if anything works I'll be sure to write about it.