⭐ resisting instant gratification
I got rid of all social media long ago, but reaching healthy, sustainable digital minimalism is a constant process. After I got rid of most "distracting" apps on my phone, my phone usage hardly dipped. What gives?
I replaced my habit of checking those apps with browsing Reddit & Youtube via Safari. After I blocked those two sites, I found myself googling random things on Safari (news, sports, etc) multiple times a day, almost as an instinct.
So yesterday I tried something I hadn't before and got rid of Safari. You can't delete Safari on an iPhone, but you can make it disappear by going to the Settings > Screen time > Content & Privacy restrictions > Allowed apps and toggling it off.
I didn't expect this change to do much, but it's had a bigger impact on my phone usage than anything else I've tried. Not only do I not browse the news or the rest of the Internet for fun anymore, but I also am learning to temper my expectation of instant gratification. Do I need to know the answer to my question right now? It can (almost always) wait. If it's important, you can take a picture or write it down and look it up on your computer later. And if you never get around to looking up the answer, maybe the question wasn't so important to begin with.
The good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) news is that you can still access the web content your friends send you in other apps. I think this is good—I can view videos and articles my friends send me on Discord in the built-in browser that pops up, but I can't go on Youtube by myself if someone hasn't already sent me something.
Can I think of any drawbacks to this approach? Well, I might get even worse at trivia now that I can't look up random facts all the time. And maybe there will be times I actually need to look things up urgently; only time will tell me what these use cases are1. But I think cutting my screen time by more than an hour every day and weaning myself further off my phone is well worth the trade-off.
I wish there were a good text-only web browser for iOS like Lynx for emergencies. I found one on the App Store, but the user interface is difficult to use and looks like a relic of the skeumorphic Safari from iPhone 4. This might be a blessing in disguise; I can easily imagine myself wasting hours looking things up on a well-made text-only web browser.
Do you also waste more time on your phone than you'd like? What are your vices, and what have you done to control them? I'd love to hear what works for you.
Times I've needed a web browser (wip): connecting to free wifi on the plane, looking at QR code menus at restaurants or looking up what certain foods are, ...↩