by Melchizedek Anyinsah-Bondzie
Confession: I am a serial Instagram story poster.
I post everything, from corny lip-sync videos to the snippets of music I’m currently listening to, forcing them down the throats of my followers. It got so bad that I’m pretty sure that all my stories for one day lasted 10 minutes.
For people like me who are trying to use their phone less, going cold turkey could be the answer. Thrive, an app that helps monitor your phone usage, could be part of the solution.
The brainchild of Arianna Huffington, the founder of The Huffington Post, the app is part of a wider initiative called Thrive Global. The aim of Thrive Global is to “end the stress and burnout epidemic by offering companies and individuals sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance well-being, performance and purpose, and create a healthier relationship with technology.” It really does do just that.
One of its leading features is the ‘Thrive Mode’, which blocks all notifications except texts and calls from contacts you mark as ‘VIP’. Besides this, you cannot use your phone at all. You can try and bypass the main screen – but it will always take you right back.
Thrive Mode comes in two settings: the regular mode that you can exit at any time and the second Super Thrive Mode where once you’re in, you can’t get out.
It also allows you to send a simple text to let someone trying to contact you know that you’re in Thrive mode. You can also monitor the apps you’re using, how long you’ve been using them for and limit your use by blocking apps for 24 hours.
I decided to use the app during Easter; I had a lot of spare time and wanted to spend it mostly phone-free. I racked up three days of Thriving and managed to finish a book, had several deep conversations with my parents, and I even went for a walk. I chilled out.
But there are a couple of flaws. Super Thrive Mode is easily bypassed – all you need to do is turn your phone off and back on to get out. If you’re given the option not to be disturbed it should really do just that.
The app can also be buggy at times, especially when using the app monitor, which hopefully Thrive will fix. When working correctly, Super Thrive is one of the app’s winning features.
I would recommend it. The app works well and if you’re someone who wants a full digital detox or just to take some time to relax distraction-free, this is the product to download.
What it can’t give you though is the willpower to switch off in the first place.