Goals Weekend

Weekend & More Thoughts on Digital Minimalism

July 1, 2019
homemade PB&J popsicles – banana / yogurt / peanut butter / a little honey, with a layer of blended raspberries on the bottom

It was a nice weekend.

G had her 18 month well child check (3 weeks late) and weathered the experience well (2 vaccines + a routine blood check – fun). She is 32.5″ long (66%) and 25 lb (75%). And as you can probably tell, she enjoys her life very much.  

They said they were “guarding” her. Okay then.

Other than her doctor’s appointment, we didn’t do all that much this weekend. Josh and I did get in a date night (tasting menu at Macchialina with friends!), and I napped while G slept (both days!).

I also spent a lot of time ruminating on Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism. Honestly, I feel like I sort of awoke to the fact that Instagram has become very addictive and icky time sink for me over the past few years, insidiously replacing Facebook when I ceremoniously quit in 2016.

(Both are owned by Facebook, by the way. They are 2 versions of the same business plan.)

I say “icky” because on Instagram I have slowly accumulated all of these influencers on my feed. They are mostly women, many of them now claiming to be ‘small business owners’ when their main product is themselves/a fake curated lifestyle. Having a feed filled with these people is essentially watching commercials. Voluntarily. For hours.

And yet I was doing it. Because it’s designed to scratch a primal itch of comparison or consumption or . . . something. It’s such an easy escape. It’s ALWAYS THERE. And I’m realizing I’ve put so many hours into it and gotten so little out in return.

Well, I’m done. I will still post occasional things to Instagram — I think it’s a great medium to record scenes from a special trip, or do “day in the life” style captures once in a while. But I have reduced my ‘following’ list to only people I would feel comfortable texting in real life. Even though I love Autumn Calabrese and Gretchen Rubin, they don’t need to be on my personal Insta feed. If I want to check our their content, I can google it or search for it. (And honestly, I get enough of both of them though other media formats such as blog posts, books, or actual workouts, in the case of Autumn!).

I am also going to limit my Instagram consumption to the following for the month of July:

  1. I will check my personal Insta on Fridays only
  2. I will check my BOBW Insta on Tuesdays and Thursdays only (Tuesday to post the latest episode, Thursday to check in any episode-related comments)

I am also going to limit my other online activities and will track them closely. I hope that instead of donating my eyeball time to Facebook Inc I will find better things to do with it, like read or write or listen to music or just think.

Here we go, July!! Let’s do this.


  • Reply CBS July 1, 2019 at 7:36 am

    That’s such a useful metric. Before I left facebook (also in 2016…perhaps a common cause), I scaled back my friend’s list to people I’d have a coffee with if I ran into them in an airport and later, people who I’d be happy to have in my house. My family is pretty dispersed so it’s a good way to share kids photos so I wouldn’t leave completely but I’ve scaled down instagram pretty significantly – friends and family, and a few interesting cooking, gardening, kids sites, and a few local sites as it’s a good source of events. I’m down to one quickish check per day but could scale down further.

  • Reply Omdg July 1, 2019 at 8:17 am

    For better or for worse, I never really figured out intragram. Only a few people I knew posted regularly, and it was always to promote something: their new book, this product a sponsor gave them, themselves…. and…. I found it pretty boring and a little off putting. So I stopped and I never noticed anything except being less irritated. I still do Facebook, but only use it for groups. There are a few people who pop up from time to time with interesting commentary, but mostly I have silenced all of them. I’d like to figure out Twitter to stay current on the literature in my field… it’s a work in progress. 🤷🏼‍♀️

    How do you stay in touch with old friends who don’t live near you? I was told recently at a “wellness” conference that texting is an inferior medium for human connection and that I should instead form authentic relationships in person. I’ve found that nearly impossible to do as a resident/fellow working as much as we work, with a child. If it weren’t for texting I’d have no non work/family interactions at all most days. I’ve since decided to boycott our required wellness curriculum because I’ve found it out of touch and triggering, but that’s another point entirely. Ha.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 1, 2019 at 8:44 am

      Texting and emails :). Mostly texting. Sometimes phone calls during my commute. And get together in person when possible even if it’s once a year. This seems to be enough to keep real friendships alive long term.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns July 1, 2019 at 8:58 am

    I’ve thought a lot more about my digital consumption since becoming a working mom as our free time is so limited. I use the screen time ap to block my access to FB/IG from 4:30-6:30 on week days as I’m with our son from 5-6:30 (he goes to bed really early) and I didn’t want the temptation to look at social media when I should be absorbing time with him. I’m also capped my social media time (which includes whatsapp which is an ap I use to communicate with a friend in Canada to 90 minutes/day. I wish screen time let you block social media for multiple time blocks during the day. I shouldn’t need to have my screen time ‘policed’ but the reality is that social media is super addictive so being blocked really helps me limit how much I use it! It’s probably time to drop that cap down to 1 hr 15 min and then eventually down to 1 hour/day. The kindle ap has really helped me cut down on my social media usage, though. I try to read a book on the ap when I feel tempted to check social media.

    It’s awesome that your ped has weekend appointments! So great for working parents. She’s such a cutie! That is great that she weathered the appt so well. Our son starts to cry/whine/cling to me as soon as we go into any doctor’s office. I guess he knows that it’s not a fun place for him… He’s been in a lot of doctor offices between all our ENT visits (he got tubes at 9 months thanks to endless ear infections), ped appointments, and kidney appointments (he has one enlarged kidney so we go in for regular ultrasounds to monitor it). I kind of miss the days when he was less aware of his surroundings!

  • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly July 1, 2019 at 9:15 am

    For better or worse, I don’t really get Instagram! I like it mostly for updates from my family members and “influencers” that I genuinely am interested in…like you and Laura. 🙂 But really I prefer text or email or phone as well. I guess I don’t think Instagram really lends itself to in-depth communication. It’s more like fast food writing which is obviously appealing but not necessarily my thing.

  • Reply Lou July 1, 2019 at 9:16 am

    You have made me think about Instagram – Thankyou. You are quite right. Somehow your brain wants it to be fuzzier and nicer than Facebook (never had an account, couldn’t see the point). But, I’m done with it. Deleted app from phone – and can’t remenber password so that’s it!! I’m going to use the time reading actual books (on my phone! Ha! But they still count surely). Then I have much more control over what goes in. And it feels 1000000 times better than mindless scrolling…

  • Reply Katie July 1, 2019 at 9:39 am

    I just read Digital Minimalism and have had very conflicted thoughts about Instagram! I realized the turning point on IG for me was when the stories feature came out- it took me from checking IG once a day, to constantly checking it. I ended up muting EVERYONE’s stories, minus my 4-5 closest friends and 1 famous person who makes me laugh. I have found that that drastically cuts down on my IG time- when the story icons are muted, I am so much less tempted to zone out and get addicted to the audio/visual stimulation from stories.

    **This was after deleting the app on my phone. I STILL would find my way to it on a desktop. Seriously, those stories are addicting!

  • Reply Joy July 1, 2019 at 9:55 am

    I mainly go to FB for a couple of private groups. I agree with you about IG. I carefully curate my lists for IG and twitter and only check in occasionally. If I think I missed something, I can always look on their account page.

  • Reply Jenny July 1, 2019 at 10:25 am

    When I was working on weaning off my social media, I approached it similarly – at first, I unfollowed EVERYONE, reasoning that if someone’s activity was important or meaningful for me to check in on, I would remember to do it naturally. Then I added those folks back onto my feed as that occurred. I would say I only added back maybe…2-5%, tops.

  • Reply Caitlin July 1, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Ugh I am having the similar Instagram issues (and a minor FB relapse the other day, but I’ve taken it off my phone again). I’m also frustrated because the number of actual ads in my feed has crept up a lot, and the algorithm isn’t showing me the people I’m most interested in seeing (even after I search for them when they don’t show up–I’m pretty sure it is showing me more sponsored content from influencers). For me I’ve realized part of it is how easy and low energy it is, and part of it is the looking at pretty pictures and getting inspired–so I’m going to turn to my lovely collection of books and magazines instead.

    I also love your idea of limiting checking to one day a week–I think I’ll adopt that as well.

  • Reply Anna July 1, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    I deleted instagram off my phone two months ago and don’t think i will ever re-download! I was getting this weird deja vu sensation every time I went on and even posts by good friends were irritating to me. I had been on it for 6 years and had checked multiple times a day for that entire time so I think I just got sick of it. I haven’t deleted my account and I check out my feed on desktop every so often, not doing the full scroll just seeing the first few posts. it’s been life changing, i honestly love it so much. i downloaded spider solitaire on my phone and now when i want a little me time on my phone i listen to a podcast and play spider at the same time, it’s really relaxing and satisfying in a way that scrolling insta just isn’t – and it isn’t addictive!
    the only flaw with my plan is i can’t post, but quite honestly i think i’m fine with that. i’m quite happy to be a bit more anonymous online, and share pictures and news via group chats or one on one texts.

  • Reply workplaymama July 4, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    I actually really enjoy instagram. I do a fair amount of shopping through the influencers I follow, and I generally really enjoy the fact that my feed is beautiful, happy, fake, and perfectly curated. It’s inspiring and reminds me of the best parts of life, I’ve never really felt inferior or jealous or like I’m missing out from browsing it. I think of it as a replacement to magazines, which I used to love and no longer read. Sometimes I do look at it longer than I should…but it’s usually when I’m too tired to do anything else. I’m also curious as to where you will get inspiration for guests and ideas for your podcast if social media becomes nonexistent for you. I feel like it helps keep me current in many ways. Best of luck!

  • Reply Tyra July 6, 2019 at 8:31 am

    I love Instagram, but it’s definitely time for me to curate my feeds again. I should check the actual stats, but I would spend 15 minutes twice a day looking? Not including updating my own stories, which varies a lot.

    I’ve always enjoyed it when you’ve shared your weekend via stories, I’m going to miss that! They were always refreshingly normal 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 6, 2019 at 10:39 am

      oh i am sure i will be back at selected intervals to post things. i just need a break particularly from reading others’ posts.

  • Reply Helen July 7, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    I’m not an instagrammer but am still wasting too much time of facebook, ugh. One thing I notice is that even though I know people are only posting their “highlight reel”, it still makes me feel badly about myself. Then I wonder, why am I going back to a site that makes me feel like that?? I think I need to read Digital Minimalism myself!

  • Reply brittnie July 7, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    Essentially watching commercials. – never thought of it in that way but yep, you nailed it!

  • Reply Maggie July 10, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    This post inspired me to go through my entire feed and delete more than 100 accounts I was following. I really like your criteria and that you compared it to watching commercials. That helped me decide to stop following influencers or people I once knew and think I have to know about.

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