EcoReporter Segment: The People Going ‘Monk Mode’ to Limit Social Media Use
In our upcoming EcoReporter segment on ‘The people going ‘monk mode’ to limit social media use’, we explore the growing trend of people using apps and techniques to limit their social media usage and increase focus on their work or other tasks. One individual, Susie Alegre, a human rights lawyer and author based in London, uses an app called Freedom to block her access to social media sites when she needs to concentrate on her work. She believes that relying on willpower alone is incredibly hard when it comes to limiting social media use.
Freedom is an app that allows users to block specific social media sites and websites or turn off internet access entirely for a specified period of time. Users can choose how long they want the blocking to last and can cancel it early if needed. There is also a “locked mode” option that prevents the block from being overridden until the scheduled time is up. Similar blocking apps include ColdTurkey, FocusMe, and Forest.
The rise of social media platforms and the constant notifications and scrolling they offer has led to a surge in popularity of an approach called “monk mode.” This involves dedicating oneself to a single task without any technological or other distractions. The term has gained traction on TikTok, with videos marked with the hashtag #monkmode garnering millions of views.
Grace Marshall, an author and productivity coach, highlights the addictive nature of social media and technology. She explains that notifications create an open loop in our brains, and we feel compelled to close that loop by checking the notification, which releases dopamine and makes us feel good. Marshall also mentions that interruptions from work emails can be problematic, with the expectation of instant response adding to the pressure.
Marshall suggests that workplaces establish guidelines around expected response times to messages and emails to protect people’s work-life balance and mental health. The founder of the Freedom app, Fred Stutzman, got the idea for the app when he found himself spending too much time on Facebook instead of working on his dissertation. The app now has over 2.5 million users worldwide.
Overall, the segment will delve into the challenges of limiting social media use and the strategies people are adopting to increase focus and productivity in the digital age.