Go ahead and grab your phone, a.k.a your handheld digital garbage receptacle. If you’re using a specific brand (the one that sounds a hell lot like Grapple and Snapple), swipe right.
You’ll see a chart of the time you spend on certain apps. It gives you an idea of how much time you burned away sitting on the John, with a chunk of your own fecal matter floating around in tepid water just inches below your bunghole.
Let’s be honest here. For many of us, a smartphone would be the first thing our hand touches upon waking up and the last thing we see before bed.
We begin our first hours of a new day chowing down on digital garbage. A soda and donuts breakfast of fake news, twerk battles on Instagram reels and Dr. Pimple Popper shorts.
But like how you’d approach any dopamine-boosting activity, it’s all about moderation and proper prioritization.
It isn’t to say you should throw out the shiny gadget and switch back to the flip phone (that would be a trip, though). What you want is a healthy relationship with your digital garbage.
Compartmentalize Digital Garbage
That one’s quite a mouthful, eh? But it’s a good jump-off point. The first order of business would be to rank them according to their level of importance and then group them.
The categorization process will be up to you, but here’s how I’d do it:
These apps will keep you glued to the bed until 10:30 AM, when you should’ve been moving for your Monday meeting three hours ago.
Regulation is a must when consuming this type of digital garbage.
- Social media: Need I say more?
- Games for pure entertainment: How many hours of your day have gone to the shitter because you were chasing extra tokens on Candy Crush? Better question: how do you feel about another day of zero productivity?
- Dating apps: Admit it, you’ve probably lost count of the number of times you’ve taken your phone to go on a swiping spree. All while you have this blank page of a supposed book report staring at you.
It is the type of online garbage that will derail your progress on the day’s tasks, but they have some value.
- Netflix: For many of you, it’s the sure path to getting laid, coupled with your best bottle of red. But likewise, you will find mentally enriching documentaries there. Ever binged on Vox’s Explained series yet?
- YouTube: Forget about MrBeast’s challenge videos for a minute. Instead, indulge in Steven Kotler’s Ted Talk about testing the limits of human performance by achieving a flow state. You’re welcome.
- Educational games: You’re sitting at the DMV and whip out your phone to kill time. Instead of trying to beat your top score on Bejeweled Blitz, go for the New York Times crossword puzzle. Give yourself a good kind of headache.
A hefty pile of fertilizer enriches the soil underneath.
Similarly, these apps could, at the very least, add a little something to your knowledge bank, for better or worse.
- Ebooks: You could be consuming Zachary Auburn’s How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety or Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. Hey, at least you’re reading, right? It is, after all, a lost art.
- Podcasts: Save yourself the road rage while stuck in classic L.A. gridlock. Instead, immerse yourself in the soothing sound of Lex Fridman’s stoic voice as he unpacks the inner workings of the CIA’s recruitment process. Not particularly useful, but informative and entertaining enough.
- Productivity apps: Streak is an excellent example here (not sponsored). It gamifies the task completion experience, urging you to get shit done. Again, you’re welcome.
Prioritize Digital Garbage
Cheat meals exist for a reason. Every dieter knows that. According to studies, they also play the motivator role besides providing an extra metabolism boost.
Knowing you get to have a generous slice of Costco apple pie after a week of celery sticks and salted chicken breast helps keep you going. Human beings thrive more when rewards are on the line.
But like anything decadent in life, moderation is key. That also applies to your digital garbage.
Because once you allow yourself to fall down the rabbit hole of debauchery, you’re fucked. Good luck getting out of that.
Cheers, and be well.