An aspirational home screen for 2018

· 3 minute read

It’s1 the start of a new year, and thus a good opportunity to think about how the next 365 days can improve upon their predecessors. I’ve spent a inordinate amount of time in recent months considering how the software in my life can can be more of a means and less of an end, and as such have am starting 2018 with the following:

For many years, my home screen reflected the apps that I used the most, a self-fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one. I used Tweetbot so much that it seemed to very obviously deserve a spot in my dock, guaranteeing that I’d continue to use it a ton without considering whether or not that was actually the intention. Instead, I’m now trying what I hope will be prescriptive of the habits I want to engrain2 – most of them offline as opposed to online – rather than descriptive of my status quo.

Tweetbot hasn’t only been removed from my dock and home screen3, but from my phone altogether. I first replaced it with the official Twitter app, an app that I find less enjoyable to the point where I figured it’d help me kick the habit, but it didn’t, and as such Twitter is also gone (in favor of Nuzzel and TwiM4). Same with email; once badged and in the dock, but now buried in a folder without any such adornments or permissions.

I have a real love-hate relationship with Twitter. It has – at times – brought me immense joy, knowledge, and offline friendships that I value dearly to this day. I truly consider it to be my most important professional network. Conversely, I’ve found it to be a time-suck that I’m drawn to like no other. And it’s important to me that I change that.

The blessing and curse of the modern mobile operating system – depending on your self-control – is that your phone can take on any form you’d like: a machine for Twitter and games, a tool that encourages an active and present lifestyle, or in most cases, something in between. Without a right answer, the best that I think you can do is to make sure that you’re consciously deciding.

  1. Well, it was. 

  2. Meditation being perhaps the boldest example of this. I’ve not meditated prior to this year, and don’t necessarily intend to make it a regular part of my routine. But I know I want to do it more than I have in the past, and putting it front and center is the best way I can think of to accomplish that. Even if only on occasion. 

  3. Please don’t misunderstand this as anything but the most effusive of praise for Tweetbot, both as a longtime customer but also as a software developer who very frequently finds their mastery of the craft maddeningly jealousy-producing. 

  4. I still use Mobile Safari to visit more often than I wish I did, but it’s an improvement that I’ll take for now.