If It's Tuesday It Must Be Time to Talk About Wellness
Wearing Inspiration

Digital Unraveling

In November 2017, I decided to rethink my relationship with Facebook.  I was a very regular Facebook user back then. . . posting and like-ing and sharing pretty much every day.  But I got disgusted.  With myself . . . for spending so much mindless time scrolling.  And with Facebook . . . for being Facebook.

I didn't completely let go of Facebook, but I did remove the app from my phone.  I figured I didn't want to give it up completely -- but maybe I could get that scrolling habit under control if it wasn't available on my phone.

The first few days were hard.  I got antsy . . . just wanting to scroll.  But it only took a couple of days, and I found I wasn't missing Facebook at all!  In fact, even though it was still available to use on my laptop, I just . . . lost interest.

Like completely.

And it was a simple decision for me to deactivate my account once the Cambridge Analytics story broke.  (After a year, I reactivated because I thought I wanted to be part of a "group" -- but found I never even looked at it.  So I've deactivated again.)

Anyway.  I proved to myself that (1) I wasn't missing anything by not spending time on Facebook, and (2) it was easier to break that scrolling habit/addiction/tendency than I thought it would be.

Which may explain why this book appealed to me so much. . . 


(This is how I read library books --- with post-it flags.  The number of flags indicates how much this book resonated with me.) (I ended up with a 9-page Word document of notes I took with this book.)

This book is not . . . anti-technology.  It does not bash smartphones.  It does not recommend getting rid of all your apps.

It does, though, explain the obvious -- that "new technology" has changed our lives dramatically in the past decade.  It explains some of the reasons why.  It points out a few of the rather devious practices employed by social media companies to get us to use our smartphones even more.  But mostly, it encourages us to examine our own technology use (and especially our smartphones) . . . to see how, exactly, we're using them.  Where our time goes.  And how to make our technology WORK FOR US.

The author, Cal Newport, recommends doing a 30-day "digital declutter."  Nothing drastic or draconian -- just a 30-day break from "optional" technologies.  And the first step is . . . to determine your own rules.  You get to decide which of your technologies are "optional."  Then, after the 30-days, you get to re-evaluate.  Which of the "optional technologies" do you want to reintroduce for yourself -- and under what conditions or rules?  (It's sort of like a digital version of the Whole 30 concept.)

I started my own "digital declutter" on April 1.  My goal is to cut down on mindless scrolling (which still happens, of course, even without Facebook).  Here are my rules and conditions for my 30-days:

  • I removed the Instagram and Pinterest apps from my phone.  (Although they are still on my laptop, I don't plan to access either for my "declutter" time.)  (Yep.  That means no Instagram or Pinterest for 30 days.)
  • I have de-activated email on my phone.  (I tend to constantly check my email on my phone, but I never reply unless I'm at my laptop.)  (So why am I checking it on my phone????)
  • I removed all news headline apps from my phone.  (These are a great source of click-bait for me . . . and it never makes me happy.) 
  • I have blocked certain websites (from my phone and laptop) that just distract me mindlessly.  (I'm looking at you Tom & Lorenzo.)
  • I have set up my own rules for using Ravelry.  While I can still use it for adding projects (should I finish any during the 30-day period) or to look up a pattern I already own, I will not allow myself to scroll through the "hot right now" patterns for 30 days.

I also set up my own rules for which apps I can still use.  (Most of these are useful, not optional, or for whatever reason don't tempt me to keep scrolling.)  (Banking, for example.  My meditation app.  The weather.  Evernote.  Goodreads.)  Other not-optional activities for me:  texting, calling, blogging, and listening to audiobooks.

(It's all very . . . intentional.  Y'know???)

It's Day 3 of my "digital declutter."  And I'm not missing a thing.


How about you?  Have you ever thought about doing a "digital declutter?"


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This really resonates with me. I have been "inadvertently" been doing a bit of this myself thanks to the weekly screen time updates that Apple reminds me of once a week. I want to read that book and have gotten myself on the wait list for it.


Interesting and good post Kym. I haven't really thought about this...basically because I don't do much on social media. I look at Facebook occasionally because it's the only way I learn anything that's going on with my brother and SIL (she posts, he does not)...I don't use my own account and haven't posted anything in a couple of years (at least). I do look at Instagram, but don't comment and honestly don't look that much. I've only gone on Pinterest a few times and find it more annoying than helpful/interesting. I do read blogs (and post) almost always from work. I rarely use my laptop at home - only for updating personal financial stuff, banking, etc. My phone is in my purse when I drive and I rarely look at it during work too. I use Ravelry only for buying patterns, keeping them in my library, etc.
I don't scroll through or *hunt* for things on it. So, I think I'm ok - lol. Nothing I really want to eliminate.


I also removed facebook from my phone, but haven't yet deactivated my account. I'm using my kids as an excuse, but I'll be doing it soon. I also need to make some rules for myself around instagram as I'm doing too much mindless scrolling there. I've been busy unsubscribing from newsletters and stuff. That's not to say I won't still visit Webs website, but I do like not being endlessly tempted.


I deleted Facebook from my phone back when you first did. I've put it back on for vacations a couple of times but always took it right off. My relationship with FB is pretty slim these days...a quick check in the a.m. but the constant scrolling habit has been kicked! I've got a bit of a Instagram habit that could stand to be curbed a bit but in all honesty it's a nice window to Dan's world. I think I'm in pretty good shape!


Oh, yes, it is so easy for me to waste time in this way. I took the FB app off my phone sometime last year, but haven't deactivated my account, although i would like to do it soon. I like Instagram, but it hasn't caused me to engage in the mindless scrolling that happens with FB.


I have the book.

I'm not unhappy with the amount of time I spend on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc..... So, for now it is status quo around here.

Good luck with your declutter. I'm sure you will feel better for it.


Kym, I love this post for so many reasons, which I won't go into here. But, first--I had to laugh, because when I read non-fiction, my books look exactly like yours! (Funny enough, I had a pic of one in my post on Monday.). Second--your post reminded me of a book I recently read that you might find a good and quick read as part of your digitial detox month (April--what a great month for that! Would rather be doing garden clean-up anyway, right!?) The book: _Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind_ Have a glorious month.


I am very interested in hearing how this goes for you. Getting a smartphone was great in many ways, but it also can be a source of constant distraction. I'm not a big fan of Facebook and hardly ever go online; the only reason I haven't completely deactivated my account is because sometimes it's the best way to get in touch with relatives out of town. But I long ago deleted the app from my phone and don't miss the scrolling time one bit. It's okay with me if I don't know every little detail of every friend's life all the time. Two apps that I still use (and am probably guilty of using too much) are Twitter and IG. I only check in every so often, and sometimes checking them is a good way to take a mental break from work for a few minutes. I've gotten pretty good at skimming so I can scroll fairly quickly and see if there's anything I need to pay attention to.


I have always been a reluctant FB user and after Cambridge Analytics I took the app off my phone. I use it to keep track of my SnB group and a couple of friends who are ill. Scrolling is a scourge, IMO. I like the "screen time" report on my phone. I have successfully dropped the amount of time I spend and now keep it at around 1 hour or so a day. Life is so much better when you live it IRT.


I've given a lot of thought to it, but then realized that I don't spend that much of my own time digitally. Yes, if I read a book on my Nook or something, but I have a pretty limited amount of time I spend online. I think it's because I'm online all of the time at work as part of my job.

I have to say the thing that made me hyperventilate the most was the Post-Its in your library book!


I use Facebook as a tool. It was very helpful when it came to running my campaign last year and it's an excellent way to let people know what's going on with the Board of Selectmen and to see what's being discussed on the town pages. My Instagram stuff posts automatically to Facebook so there's that, too. I feel like it fits in well with my life and I don't waste a lot of time scrolling. I do sometimes feel overwhelmed with staying caught up with Instagram. Also, I will miss you terribly there!


I fast from Facebook every year during Lent - all forty-six days - not even a peek. It is so refreshing, and I am amazed at how many other things I can accomplish - knitting, reading, exercising, etc. My plans are, after Easter, to limit myself to a quick thirty minutes a day; or, maybe not at all. It is a total time-sucker and one that I can do without.


I am reading this book
I delet d the Instagram and Facebook apps from my phone in March. Stayed off Instagram for 3 weeks. The scrolling is such a bad habit. I have much to think about when it comes to my digital distractions


I love this, Kym - thank you for sharing! I took a hard look at my Instagram feed last week and subtracted and added. I spend less than an hour there each day and I always feel energized and engaged so I think I have a nice mix of accounts. I get my news via emails and podcasts and some of it sucks (I can't imagine getting popups on my phone - yikes!) I look forward to hearing more about this whole idea. ...and maybe I'll start with reading the book!


Warning: Small Rant Ahead -- Pretty much like Vera except Ravelry where I scroll a lot, triggered by searches for my next project. Although oddly enough the most stunning shawl I saw was not on Ravelry nor was the knitter. Jess and Casey still have a lot of ground to cover (and I think they appreciate the challenge), although there will always be renegades that elude them. I love Ravelry - don't want to live without it - but I also love renegades). Social media in general, however, is like the game Telephone on steroids, and encourages herd mentality and warps reality, especially Twitter, and we could all use a lot less of THAT. Other than that, have a nice (social media-less) day!


P.S. Oh yes, perhaps unfortunately, there is a P.S. In the interests of balance, social media does have an upside, but we haven't learned to wrangle the downside into submission yet. Chloe

Kim in Oregon

Good job! I remember you encouraging me when I took a FB break in January. Now I spend less than 15 minutes a week on FB . And life is much better.


I"ve been with Facebook since 2005 - when it was first opened beyond the college crowd. I doubt I've looked at it 100 times in the past 14 years... Some of the online activities I join use FB as a way to maintain communication with participants...so, I might log on to stay in the loop...but basically, I'm not "addicted." to mindless scrolling. Glad you're finding Digital Minimalism a good read; I like Cal a lot and I think his book touches just the right nerve, aka the "brain!" Very thoughtful approach to your topic; thanks for sharing.
PS. i have been known to get lost in the YouTube rabbit hole...so, I do stay away from it, For Sure!

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