(This is a long post. The summary is that I found a way to avoid feeds while still getting the information I need most and staying connected with others. And I feel a little more in control of my life.)
I don't want to get ahead of myself or get preachy and tell everyone they should do what I'm doing. But I do want to share my experiences so far. The power of story / experience is important, so here I go!
I have finally been able to let go of scrolling mindlessly through feeds! I have multiple failed progress charts all throughout this year from when I was trying to limit my Facebook time to 40 minutes, then 30 minutes a day, then even 20. I think one time I kept to my goal for 10 days. Then of course the goal would fall apart. Again.
But things are going much better this time. I deleted the Facebook app (and the News app, and a few other apps that had feeds), and I set up my Facebook settings so I would get emails of the things I actually need to hear about (YSA announcements, and announcements from other relevant groups). I basically set it up so that any information that would be actually helpful to would be emailed to me. That way I'm still connected, and can receive the information I need, but I can completely avoid my Facebook newsfeed. The only time I get on my news feed is when I'm on the computer, which is not very comfortable for me, and my browser will kick me off of Facebook after ten minutes. It's taken care of the addiction problem, because the addiction is not to Facebook itself. The addiction is tapping on my phone in moments of boredom, or transition times, and scrolling through information / stimuli. Instead of reaching for my phone (which now is a much more boring phone than it used to be), I either reach for my planner / notebook, or just move onto whatever my next task might be.
I do still feel the need to lower my notifications in all the apps on my phone. The difference is that checking my email never holds my attention for more than 5 minutes. It doesn't drag me down into a never-ending stream. A list of emails is finite (unless its my mom's inbox, perhaps - love you Mom!), whereas a Facebook feed can feel nearly infinite. By only having apps that provide a built-in end to the amount of time I spend in them, I never get sucked into my phone for very long. And so now I definitely feel it's hold on me lessening.
Part of this was all motivated by the podcast "Note To Self", and the subsequent book "Bored and Brilliant." Knowing that other people were gaining the courage/determination/motivation to delete their apps and reclaim some of their time helped me to do it too. I like doing things with other people... even if they are people I don't actually know. But we're united in this goal, so that makes it enjoyable.
I hope to later report more about the benefits of all this. I'm hoping I can put some of my reclaimed time to use at practicing my new banjo. In a few weeks I may be able to post of video of myself playing clawhammer banjo. I hope so.
I do still get on Facebook and Instagram for a few minutes a couple times a week, because I do want to hear about my friends. Please feel free to interact with me there. I'm not leaving it entirely. I use Facebook Messenger to interact with people all the time, since it is a separate app, and I don't have to see the newsfeed there.
This was not my most exciting post. But it is my current story. And if anyone else is the same as me, wanting to be less controlled by their phone, and also benefits from working on goals with others instead of alone, I wanted to explain what's been working well for me.
Also, please let me know if any of you have blogs. I would love to receive email updates about my friends' lives. =)