I keep my smart phone plugged close to my bed in airplane mode, so my daily alarm wakes me up. At least that's what I tell myself. In reality, I always wake up before the alarm and use that time to check my email, look at twitter moments, then slide over to my games folder and play a round or two of Words With Friends. Except that it's never just one round; sometimes I play twenty rounds, and then I play against myself. I'm always eager to get the badge for the week and once I've gotten it, I justify playing more with the excuse that I'm learning words. Then, when my shoulder and arm start hurting, I turn sideways in bed and play backgammon. And finally, when my cat has climbed up ten times to sniff around and nudge me out of bed, I finally get up, all thoughts of doing early morning work gone. I have to get rid of these time vampires. At the same time, it would also behoove me to examine the rest of the items on my phone.
I sit down midweek to look at this apparatus whose main function is to connect with another voice and am horrified to discover an ugly truth: I am an app hoarder. I have amassed close to 500 apps over the course of a few years. Photography apps, video apps, accounting apps, three different types of weather apps, and of course, at least 15 social media apps, apps that tell me who has unfollowed me, apps to streamline my profile pic, apps to turn me into an emoji, the list goes on and on. Do I use the majority of them? No. Do I need most of them? No. Do I read more news because of them? No. Do they inspire me to post more on social media because I have the means to make prettier pictures? No! Once I downloaded an app that would alert me when certain apps were free so, for a while, I was adding to my collection every day because I convinced myself that if I had that definitive tool, I would use it and my world would change. It didn't.
According to the Mayo clinic, 'a hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.' And just what is the meaning of an app, you might ask? An app is an application, especially as downloaded by a user to a mobile device. Apps are meant to be a starting point, to help, not run my life.
Last night, I took a good, long look at my phone. And deleted over 350 apps. The first one to go was Words with Friends. My phone's battery life seems to be working better since it's not weighed down with so much app baggage. While in a zoom meeting this morning, my thumbs automatically went to the game section before my brain registered there is no folder with games anymore on my phone. Work may be more relaxing now than playing games.