On distractions

Here’s the thing: I deal with social networks by compartmentalizing them and accessing each via a particular access method. I have a separate browser (Chromium) whose only job is to open Facebook. I only read Twitter via TweetBot on my iPad. And I never access anything on my phone.

This has worked-out pretty well. I can easily restrict myself to accessing these time-sinks maybe once or twice a day. I may not be the fastest to respond to people, but that’s OK with me.

This has all fallen apart now.

I forgot to pack my iPad charger when heading for Delhi this time. Have been here for around three weeks, and for the first week the iPad’s great battery life ensured that my routine continued. Once it discharged completely though, I had to find out a new way to access Twitter.

After trying the terrible web interface for a day, and some random desktop apps that shall remain unnamed, I ended up just using the official Twitter app on my phone. This has ruined my happy little system…

I find it fascinating how often I end up opening the app. Anytime I have a few minutes free with nothing to do, I instinctively just open the app and ‘pull to refresh’. And I’ve only been using the app on my phone for two weeks!

I keep coming across all these articles and videos about the dangers of smartphones, about the problems with being always distracted, and I can’t help but nod-along at times. I’m a pretty light user of my smartphone — my Nexus 4 battery usually lasts 2 days and often 3, which is unheard of! — but I have noticed getting more and attached to it.

I’m certainly not going to go back to a dumbphone (I’d be literally lost without Google Maps, for one), but I’m planning to be even more mindful of my access patterns in the future. And when I reach Mumbai again, I’ll hopefully go back to my original system.