I’ve been thinking a lot about habits over the last few days. There are some good ones that I’ve let slide recently, such as running a good few miles each week. There are others I’m still trying to embed, such as opening my mail on the day it arrives rather than a few weeks later.
I had my second instalment with Rachel, the brilliant professional organiser and declutterer who helped me sort my shit out over the summer. And then we moved house, and after a couple of weeks of being all smug-show-home-tidy, my old habits have returned. Crumpled receipts, clothes, papers… that kinda thing. Thanks to Rachel’s wonder work on Friday, my desk and office are now raring to go, and I’m right there with them.
And then I downloaded iOS8 on my phone. I’ve discovered it does lots of things: crashes various apps, reminds me who I’ve been communicating with, and—crucially—tells me what has been burning the battery over the last 24 hours.
How I spend my phone’s battery is basically how I spend most of my waking life. I am wedded to the thing. If its fake leather case isn’t in my hand or back pocket, I feel out of sorts. Naked.
There’s nothing like a clear visual indicator of how I spend my time to demonstrate the habits I actually have. And there it was, top of the line, the thing I spent most of my time on: Facebook.
Facebook. Not just burning the phone’s battery but also my brain. What a fucking waste of cells. I fell for it over seven years ago, when I was living in San Francisco and falling in love. It had opened its doors to non-Harvard people, and I went in. Slowly friends added themselves—new ones from Berkeley and the city, then later old ones from back over the other side of the ocean.
For me, my favourite thing was that I could use it as a wonderful way to chart and capture those early days of romance, to let my folks back home know that I hadn’t made a terrible mistake.
My friends group swelled with the onset of wedding season. It lasted a couple of years. The inevitable babies followed, including my own. I ransacked timelines with his chubby cheeks. It was so fun to see other people’s lives and to have others see mine.
A couple of summers ago I switched my photographic allegiance to Instagram (so if you want to see photos of my kid, have at ’em). And then I decided not to double post, I became more of a Facebook lurker. The few posts I continued to make tended to be self-aggrandising. Gone were my misty-eyed days. Then came more and more ads. Mashable seemed to be my most prolific friend. Every day I scrolled through scores of photos of toddlers I would never meet. And yet, somehow, I stayed tuned in. Looked in at it once, twice, three times a day. Well, four times. Five. Probably more.
With low energy at the moment, and a lot going on, realising that I was spending 10% or more of my life on the damn thing made me angry. So yesterday I deleted it. I’m guessing I’ve gained about an hour a day of my life back. The question is.. what am I going to do with it?