When Apple announced Screen Time as a feature, I felt like it was designed for me.
I am not a smartphone addict. I can live without it, there have been events when I did not have an active internet connection and still managed to live without it for a few weeks and even have my laptop and phone completely discharge to a point where there was no way to contact me, this was at the time when Hurricane Irma struck.
My problem starts when I have access to social media. I was not addicted to it for many years, until recently when apps finally started using the best of UI elements and algorithms to gain more attention and alter how content is shown to you.
I got addicted to Instagram (they are happy to read this, good job IG developers)
It starts with receiving a lot of notification, people liking your posts, comments (Bitcoin and passive income scammers, get rich quick schemes) and followers (thank you fake accounts). I would open the app every time there was a one. Then I decided to disable notifications, this helped for a short while until the big algorithm change happen, these updates managed to make me open it manually at times when I needed a break, even a short one. Opening the app when I am waiting for my food to arrive at the table and even when waiting for someone.
It reached a point where I would not look around my surroundings.
It did not reach to an insane level, to browse while walking or when at a stoplight, people who do that need real help.
I decided to uninstall it and It worked. I was finally free. Smiling at people at a restaurant looking around and observing my surroundings while waiting for someone. Until the messenger part of the app could not be replaced. You see these developers have added so many features.
To avoiding it for one reason is not that easy, they will get you back for using another functionality.
I updated to iOS 12 just hours after it was available, I was very excited, I could finally use the app but with an automated limiter.
I added Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, for the first three days I set the limit to ten minutes, then dropped it to five minutes for the next two days, currently at one minute.
According to Moments app, I had five hours of screen time. Which dropped to one hour thirty minutes Today at the time of writing this post it is forty minutes, this is a big achievement for me.
I use my time these days for writing more articles, you will see more content on this site. The rest of the time is spent on reading books.
This is just a week of using it I will publish a month of using it if it does greater impact.
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I compiled a list of software and services that I use to improve my workflow, here is the link to the list.