Let's spill the beans: Do you feel addicted to social media? I must confess that there are times when I catch myself refreshing FB or Instagram on my phone for no good reason whatsoever, and it's starting to worry me a bit. What started as a way to keep up with family and friends, has changed into a never ending catalog of new products that, strangely enough, always seem to fit my needs. The algorithms have become so sophisticated that FB knows exactly what type of shoes I need for my next workshop or which shampoo will finally give me the shine I've always wanted. I'm not so much worried about the 'big brother is watching you' part of it, as I am about the addictive nature of social media.
How do you cut back? How do you unplug for hours at a time when the luring device is in your pocket all day long? In a recent post, my good friend Ugo Cei mentioned an app that is designed to help you cut back and stay away from social media for specific amounts of time that you set yourself. I'm always up for a challenge so I downloaded Forest. The tag line of the app is Stay Focused, Be Present. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? There are many other apps that help you stay on task, such as this one. For some reason Forest appealed to me by its simplicity. Basically, whenever you want to stay away from social media, you plant a tree. You set a time (30 minutes, 3 hours or whatever) during that time the tree will grow. IF you leave the app before the time is up (to go back to social media), the tree will die. Sounds simplistic? Well, I like it. And it works! Maybe because it's all about planting a virtual forest. The few times I was tempted to press the home button on my phone, I resisted because I remembered that my tree was growing and I needed to focus on the task at hand for 30 more minutes without any distractions (or my tree would die). The app will cost you $1.99, small price to pay to regain a bit of freedom in my opinion. I also feel good about the fact that the Forest team partners with a real tree planting organization called Trees for the Future.
Thank you Ugo from bringing this app to my attention. And I hope that many of you find it helpful because, let's all be honest, we need to regain some control and spend our precious time on earth in more productive ways. Don't you think?
Please share a comment if you have found other useful ways to stay away from the temptation of social media. I look forward to reading your comments!