Time is the most precious resource. With the advancement in technology, it becomes more difficult to safeguard time. I am an iPhone user. After checking the “Screen Time”, the top 3 most used apps are WeChat, Instagram, and YouTube (Actually, the 3rd is Safari. But it is less likely to waste time in Safari). In total, I spend approx. 15 hours in these 3 apps a week. I guess it is lower than the average. But, as a labourer who trades his time for money (Laugh!), the additional 15 hours actually mean a lot. 8 hours of working hours (sometimes even more), 8 hours of sleep, and 2-3 hours of meal time. There are only 5 hours of controllable time left per day. And I spent approx. 2 hours per day on social media. Worst still, some of you may be still approachable outside working hours because of technology.

I think if we seat down and reflect, we will all agree sometimes, we spend too much time on Social Media. And we also understand how those apps work, for example, they provide constant stimuli to our brains; they have push notifications to remind us on going back; they earn money from our attention; their information is biased; they only recommend what we want to see, etc. In short, companies, employers, basically, everyone are wanting time and attention from us. I think we need to actively manage it.

In fact, I tried before, a few years ago, I tried to use a dump phone (A Nokia) for half a year. I can only make calls and receive SMSs. It feels good. But technology does bring convenience, such as navigation, payment, staying connected, and searching for information. It is hard to completely ditch my smartphone. I need a balance between the two extremes.

Recently, I am using an app called one-sec. You can add the distracting apps to the list and the app forces you to think twice by delaying the opening of the app for a few seconds (configurable), and you need to explicitly state why you would like to open the distracting app. It greatly changes my behaviour. Not only do I spend less time on distracting apps, but most importantly the attempts to open are also reduced. And I can still use other great technologies that better my life. It is a tool to make my brain aware of the negative impact, and also delay the need for instant gratification. It is a defence against time thieves. I highly recommend everyone try this out!

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