It’s the new year, and a great excuse to start decluttering your things. We’re not talking your room or desk, but your phone. Specifically your apps – according to a May 2017 report from App Annie the average user has 60-90 apps, and we only use 9 of them. Here’s the kicker: research has also shown that smartphone addiction goes hand in hand with the rise in app usage. So, to kick our habit, we should start reviewing apps that do little to contribute to our lives – here are some key ones to start with:
Social media is mainly to blame for giving us anxiety – current trends on FB’s newsfeed (with threats of nuclear wars and violent crime) will take a toll on your psyche. That’s not forgetting self-esteem issues; if you’re a regular Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram user, chances are you’re monitoring your ‘Like’ numbers – this actually gives you a very real hit of dopamine but before long, you’ll want to experience it again. A 2013 study found that the more people used Facebook, the worse they felt. If you’re brave enough, you should consider deleting your socials – or you’ll be forever trying to compete with a digital version of yourself.
Chances are that we probably underestimate how much time we waste on our phones – according to a study by British psychologists, we spend twice as much more time than we think we do. Many of us check our phones when we’re waiting in line for queues (maybe you were in one of these) and don’t think about using social media, or playing games (Candy Crush, Minecraft), or hooking up on Tinder, right? Then there are other apps like Kirakira and VSCO that are simply photo filters for your socials. Apps distract us so completely that we don’t notice how much time is eaten up, so if time is money, why are we still wasting it?
Mobile games take the cake when it comes to their ‘freemium’ model – they’re free to download and play up to a certain point, but will require in-app purchases as you progress. Even if you think you can control yourself, people have spent $37 billion on in-app purchases in 2017. The worst offenders here include games like Pokémon GO, Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, and Rules of Survival. Let’s not forget apps that make us want to part with our cash, with marketplace apps like Carousell, Wish, and Lazada. If you need to spend money in your free time, then you’re either too rich or have too much time.
While smartphones give you virtually instant access to anyone you want – start a video call or send a text message or write an email – anytime, anywhere, you start to feel that personal space is non-existent. You probably check your messages/emails/likes once you get a notification. Then there are work-related apps like Google Docs, which will give you easy access but will make it hard for you to leave your work behind. While getting rid of communication apps – like WhatsApp, WeChat – is hard to do when you have group projects, perhaps using the Do Not Disturb function may help you distance yourself from being contactable 24/7.
While it’s not easy to trash some of these apps, since it may seem like dumping a friend, you can start by deleting apps you hardly use – or use only once a year (we’re looking at you, Best Nine Yearly for Instagram).