Sam Holstein

Change Your Life by Deleting Your Social Media & Email Apps

Change Your Life by Deleting Your Social Media & Email Apps

I’m an unusual person. I own a smartphone and sleep with it next to me in bed every night… but I never waste time scrolling on my phone.

I never wake up and piss away half an hour playing on my phone. I never accidentally keep myself awake at night poking around on my phone. And I never collapse onto the couch in the middle of the day for a good midday scroll.

Judging by the tone on the internet, this is not most people’s experience. Most people indulge in what’s colloquially called “the morning scroll.” They catch up on all the posts they missed and the emails they received before they even get out of bed. But instead of feeling productive and prepared, this ritual leaves them feeling overloaded and behind on their day.

The reason I don’t do the morning scroll is not that I have superior willpower or am a higher-level self-help guru than you. My willpower is terrible, actually. Put a bowl of candy in front of me and it will be gone within minutes. There’s nothing special about me. The reason I don’t morning scroll is simply that I don’t give myself the option.

There’s nothing to check or scroll on my phone. Sure, my phone gets text messages. But there usually aren’t any when I wake up in the morning. And aside from text messages, there’s nothing to check or scroll.

The average US adult spends 3 hours and 41 minutes on their phone every day. My average screen time is between one and a half hours and two hours per day. It’s only that high because I heavily use YouTube Music and Google Maps.

I can’t imagine spending three or four hours on my phone every day. Honestly, the idea of spending that much time on my phone on a regular basis makes me feel a little sick. Physically sick, the same way laying on the couch all day and watching Netflix can leave you feeling sick.

Some of that time spent checking and scrolling is shifted to my Macbook air. Checking email on phone is usually just an act of checking, but on my computer, I can process my emails and get to inbox zero. The net effect is much less time spent checking email.

Much of that time is simply regained as free time. It gives me time to have a leisurely morning, to cook my own breakfast, and to spend time writing. It gives me quality time with friends and loved ones. Every minute you don’t spend checking and scrolling is a minute you can regain to build a side hustle, pursue time with loved ones, or even take a deep breath and settle in the present moment.

Most people I talk to discount the power of reclaiming these small slices of time. They think they need to make some kind of big change to change their life. But our lives are nothing more than the sum of our moments. If you can cut out hours of wasted moments every day and replace them with productive and meaningful moments, you’ve reclaimed an incredible amount of life energy.

The best way for you to see what a difference this change can make is by changing it. Delete your social media and email apps, stick with the decision for 60 days, and observe the change to your daily quality of life.

If you’re looking for a small change that will have a big impact on your productivity, delete your social media and email apps off your phone. Presence of mind and increased productivity will soon follow.

1: The primary reason I keep games on my phone is for pain management. When I’m in acute pain, easy-to-play phone games offer a quick distraction. Back when I had panic attacks, they also offered a distraction from panic attack symptoms.