It has now been one month since I deleted Twitter and Instagram from my iPhone. I also made a commitment to put my iPhone into Do No Disturb and leave it in another room of the house during our family evening time.
A mere 28 days was no heroic feat at all. Nevertheless, it was enlightening.
And so, after a full month, here are some initial thoughts on the experience as well as what I’m doing next.
Regarding No Social Media on my iPhone…
Let’s get to the point:
I have loved not having social media on my iPhone.
Over this past month I have felt more creative, more focused, and at times, more bored. All good things!
If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have noticed that I did not completely disappear. I still have Tweetbot my iPad, and I’ve been checking in about once a day during weekdays to reply to any DMs and other conversations that were going on. This intentional, “small batch” processing of my Twitter streawm for a few minutes per day has been great.
Even though I use my iPad for just about all my work and writing, Twitter access on the iPad has (so far) not been a distraction.
Regarding DND every evening…
Having DND enabled in the evenings proved to be a bit more difficult than I thought.
There were many times during an evening where I’d be having a conversation with my wife or with one of my kids and we’d want to pull the phone in for some reason — such as to search for something online, message someone, look at a video one of us took earlier, etc.
In those moments — with my phone in another area of the house — I grew more aware of just how prevalent my smartphone is within my family’s day to day life. And, honestly, its a prevalence that I’m not comfortable with.
As our boys grow up, there are certain mindsets and behaviors that my wife and I do and do not want to “normalize” for them. And “staring at our phones all the time” is most certainly a behavior we do not want to seem normal.
Now, what’s next?
For one, I currently have no plans to reinstall Twitter or Instagram on my iPhone. My experience in February has been too good and I’m not ready to go back.
And I will also continue to leave my iPhone on Do Not Disturb in the evenings during our family time.
Additionally, there are two more things I’m doing as a result of February’s experiment:
I’ve subscribed to several magazines, including HBR, The Atlantic, Monocle, and Fast Company. I’ll share more about this in a future article, but I realized that I wanted some literal boundaries to my news and media consumption. The internet is boundless; a physical, printed magazine has a front and back cover — it is finite.
Secondly, I’m signing out of email from my iPhone. During February, I noticed that email was the thing I checked instead of social media. But yet, I don’t actually send or reply to emails from my iPhone — I just check my inbox. It’s not a productive use of my time. So, I’m going to remove it during March and see how things go.
I’ll check back in at the end of March to see how things go without email either. But I have a hunch I already know.