The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live our lives, forcing us to stay at home and rely on technology more than ever before. While platforms like UberEats, Amazon, and TikTok were already popular, they have become ubiquitous during the lockdowns, to the point where they are now virtually synonymous with the pandemic itself. But it’s not just these platforms that have captured our attention and loyalty; there are countless others that have kept us glued to our screens and spending money in ways we never imagined. From social media giants like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat to e-commerce sites like Etsy and Wayfair, these platforms have become an integral part of our daily routines, and for many, even an addiction. In this post, we’ll explore the dangers of these habits, the impact they can have on our lives, and what we can do to break free from their grip.
Many of us have developed a routine of mindlessly using apps to the point of forming automated habits, without considering the negative consequences they may have on our lives. In fact, recent studies on the power of habits indicate that habits can either work for us or against us, and in the case of excessive use of certain apps, it is clearly the latter. As we reach the third anniversary of lockdowns caused by the pandemic, it is time to take stock of the bad habits that we may have picked up during this time. The amount of money we have wasted on online ordering of food, clothing, electronics, and other items is staggering. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The countless hours we have lost to endless scrolling through TikTok, Reels, and YouTube shorts are equally alarming. These hours could have been utilized for more productive activities that could have provided us with a better return on our investment of time.
Where do you start? first, take an inventory of the apps that you started using more often 3 years ago and have continued to do till now, to the point of addiction. Let us take TikTok (time waste) or UberEarts (Money waste) to tackle, since they are most synonymous with the lockdowns and which most people have continued to use extensively till this day. Personally speaking, I am proud to say that I have virtually never used either service. I don’t have a TikTok account, and although I have an UberEats account, I have used it once or twice, and even that was for other family members. Check these apps and see how much time and money is being wasted on them. For time spent on apps, check ‘Screen Time’ on iOS or ‘Digital WellBeing’ on Android. As for money being spent using UberEats or other food ordering and delivery platforms, simply check your credit card statement or online bank account.
Once you identify the major sources of time and money leak, take proper and concrete steps to address the issue. You can go the easy route or start small by deciding how much time/money you would like to dedicate to each per month. Or you could take the nuclear option and just remove both apps altogether. Yes, going cold turkey on apps you are addicted to may not be easy, but you could give it a try. It will hurt in the first few days or weeks, but will get easy later. In fact, it will not only get easier, you will feel like a new person – relieved – with all the money and time saved.
Some people may use these apps for their convenience. While others enjoy what they offer, after all, what is wrong with some binge watching after a long day at work or school? And while that may be true, we all know the slippery slope this creates, and may not wake up to things until it is too late. Of course, there are always exceptions and some may have more self control than others.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 lockdowns have brought about an increased reliance on online platforms, leading to the development of addictive habits that can have serious consequences on our time and money. It’s essential to take inventory of our app usage and identify the sources of time and money leaks, such as TikTok and UberEats, which have become synonymous with the lockdowns. While these apps may be convenient or even enjoyable, they can also lead to wasted time and money. Therefore, it’s crucial to take concrete steps to address the issue, whether it’s setting limits or going cold turkey. By doing so, we can reclaim our time and money and develop healthier habits for the future.