I am always trying to find ways to outsmart myself with my technology use, since it has such a strong hold on me. Last Thursday, I took Instagram, Facebook, gmail, and google search off my phone. I let myself access them on my computer, but not my phone. Just for the week, I wanted to see what kind of hold those apps had on me, and what it would be like to go without.
Right away, evidence of my impulsiveness began to show itself. Even though I had previously limited my time on Instagram, I had gotten into a weird habits, like watching Instagram stories while brushing my teeth. Thursday night, I really felt its absence as I scrubbed away. When I let that go, I was able to really enjoy the sensation of cleaning my teeth. Then, I was away at a presentation on Friday, and I really wanted to just check my email on my phone. But why? I knew I wouldn’t want to write back right then and there, because I wouldn’t be able to give it my full attention. It was just a habit. I wanted something to do. it has really taken me until today, 5 days later, to stop feeling that pull. And in its absence? Freedom. I haven’t crammed stimulation into every spare minute of my day. I have more time to just be.
My challenge to you is to choose an app to blackout for a week. Preferably one you know you are more compulsive in your use of. Really clue into what it is like to not have it, when you reach for it, and what it feels like to not be able to. Do this all with a sense of humor and curiosity, nonjudgmentally exploring your own habits of mind. In this void, may you also find freedom.