When Apple released the “Time Spent” feature in a recent iOS update, I was absolutely disgusted by the wasted hours I had logged endlessly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Snap.
There was absolutely no value or benefit in spending this much time on social media. The offer from tech companies is that by using their products you will become more "connected to your community". Yet hours tethered to my phone left me feeling completely disconnected.
In her book "Love Your Life, Not Theirs", personal finance author Rachel Cruze summarizes the feeling that social media can have on a user this way: “When you’re caught up in social media comparisons, you’re comparing yourself to make-believe. When you compare yourself to make-believe, your real life will never feel good enough.”
There have been so many tricks and trends claiming to help you kick the habit and start fresh. Some of my favorites were “delete the apps from your phone” and “don’t check your phone after 6 p.m. to get a better night sleep”. But there was one big problem.
Eschewing my phone wasn't an option
As a television producer at NBC News, uninstalling the apps wasn’t a feasible solution, as I use them to gather stories, connect with sources and share content. Also, not being on my phone for several hours just didn’t seem practical.
One solution that intrigued me was supplementing the endless scrolling of feeds with another activity on the phone that provided more utility. Some examples include reading e-books, learning a new language, playing puzzles and trivia games.
Earlier this year, a friend suggested I start listening to audiobooks. I initially disregarded the idea, thinking it may be tough to start/stop books on the go. Also, how much information can you actually retain from listening versus reading?
Despite my objections, my friend convinced me to give it a try. I downloaded the Audible app and the book “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight.