"Delete any app that makes money off your attention."

Listening to Cal Newport interviewed on a recent podcast, something he said resonated. I’m probably paraphrasing, but a key piece of advice was: “Delete any app that makes money off your attention."

Seems like really good advice. A smartphone is a collection of tools embedded in a tool. Use it like a tool and not an entertainment device and you’ll be find. For a while, in an effort to pry myself loose from the psychic hold of the smartphone I went back to using some kind of old flip phone. But I realized that I went too far. So much of our communication is via text now, it was really hard to communicate. But now, though I’m back to using a smartphone, I find that I’m much more careful about what I install on it:

  • No games
  • No social apps
  • No news apps
  • No Google apps1

If you want my attention you’re going to have to pay me for it. And I’m going to have to agree to the exchange.

  1. Google is a surveillance company first and foremost. I can mostly live without their services. Occasionally I use their services but never on the phone, only on the desktop. And when I do, it’s through the Tor browser and network running through a VPN. That way, Google cannot track me; or if they can, they’re going to have to work hard to find me. ↩︎