In an effort to be more conscious about time spent idly scrolling through “content” on my phone every day, I’ve decided on a new policy for apps: no infinite scroll. By this I mean making an effort not to use any app that offers an endless feed of posts or other content just by scrolling.

My use of Reddit was always quite passive, just scrolling forever through a list of semi-interesting things and not interacting. I’ve gone back in time a bit and swapped it for an RSS reader. Finding a good and interesting (but not too high volume) set of feeds to follow has been a challenge, as there are a bunch of sites that offer no feeds at all any more. But crucially for me, it’s not infinite scroll—I get to the end of the day’s posts, and that’s it; no more endless feed of steadily lower- and lower-quality posts.

Instagram is gone too; another endless time-suck. After the 2-5 posts from actual friends, an infinite scroll of nice photos and steadily more adverts until I eventually gave up.

Mastodon just about makes the cut: I don’t touch the local and federated timelines which are almost infinite-scrollable, just my own feed with a definitive “you’ve seen everything” end to it. Discord makes it through as well; I only really engage in one low-volume server, and the others remain on mute, so again there’s a defined end to my interaction with the app.

I think it’s been a good move so far. Reaching the end of idly browsable things acts as a prompt, a push, to do something else: read a book, play a game, go outside; a push that doesn’t exist when content simply scrolls forever.