Forcing myself to log off

Using technology to replace conviction because I cannot be trusted with my phone

Fuck I really have no self control. I have gained so much time back after I got a new phone and did not install Twitter. After two months I realise I have started to find other things to scroll. I read the news headlines multiple times a day. I download a reddit viewing app for a specific purpose then find myself lost in the front page.

I just get sucked in.

The phone is designed to be interesting and grab our attention, and yet I feel a failure for being hypnotised. People are paid thousands to make your phone more interesting than anything else. The only way is to remove their design.

I find myself picking up my phone and opening apps without thinking about it. Many people do. I used to have a timer app that limited my time on most apps. I uninstalled it after I got in the habit of ignoring the messages.

I want that time back from the phone oblivion. See my self-reminder manifesto “Bitch, you have time” for more encouragement that actually you could be doing more of the things you want to be doing.

That is the heart of it; not that “scroll bad” (tho it feels like it is) but that “other thing better.”

I am trying to design my life to have more of the things I actually want in it. But how to do it? The core for me is ease of access.

Once I started keeping my gardening gloves by the back door: I did more gardening.

I have written before about not making art for ages because my desk was messy. It was perhaps an hours work to get it clean but I never did when I had an art-urge. Then once I did get it clear: I started making more things on there.

So the reverse it also true. The harder I make something the less likely I am to start.

Zone 1 - The phone

I uninstall the apps that let me on things with infinite scroll.No games with timers or daily rewards. Number go up is a trap. Puzzles can stay. This is not anti-fun

I set time & location limited rules. I block most apps when I am at work and before bedtime. I also set a daily time limit on internet browsing to stop the news scrolling. It became automatic. Putting my phone out of reach also stops me doing it.

Load some ebooks on so I can have something worth reading.

Zone 2 - The house

I need to keep my creative spaces clean. Have more of an opportunity to create. I leave a book from my too read pile in each of the places I settle down so I have that option to hand.

I relaunch an art ‘to finish’ make list. It’s in my office and serves as a reminder of what I want to work on. This has failed in the past but is worth a go.

Zone 3 - The mind

If I want to focus on the activities more important to me I need to understand what they are. I know on a surface level but I do not push myself towards these things.

Again I must remind myself that relaxing has value. Unwinding is needed. Sometimes that can be something ‘productive’ like washing up or sewing but other times we need to be passive to recover. That is not the time I want to reclaim.

There is no cure; only treatment

There are things that will reduce temptation but in the end in the key is strength. Even after I write that apps are designed to steal attention and time I bounce back to blaming myself. I don’t know where the line is. Is uninstalling part of strength?

The only way to do is start.

You have to make art to be an artist.

Technology is a tool.

Everything is optional.