If You Need to Quit Google, Try This

The morning after I debuted my Google+ app, I couldn’t stop tapping “beverages” on my iPhone alarm clock. I can still remember the words: “Beverages? No! My browser store rules!” I am not a fellow woke person, and I have never been one. When I wake up, I dive straight into my morning email inbox. I always stop in at Google.com, have breakfast, update Instagram and then resume my Android addiction.

So it’s the things Google doesn’t allow me to do that really upset me: images on third-party sites like a Google+ page, videos from YouTube and even cooking recipes from Rachel Ray’s site.

This morning was different from my usual morning ritual because something happened that broke my almost unparalleled commitment to my smartphone. This morning, no matter the time, I told myself I wouldn’t open the browser on my iPhone. I told myself I wouldn’t click a link on the Internet. I wasn’t going to open the app on my Google+ page and share pictures, even if it was from the family dog.

Once I woke up, I skipped the official Google App. I also set aside time to read my favorite sections of Bloomberg Businessweek. Rather than hit refresh, I checked this preview screen.

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Here is how I threw Google into the trash can for the first time in years:

1. I deleted Google+.

It would be a mistake to try to fix this. Google+ may just be a dead user experience. I can see myself in Google+, with my picture in my Google+ page, but I can’t see Google as that entity. This is a culture clash, and a death. (The millionth link to a Google+ page likely will be rejected.)

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Instead, I deleted the Google+ page and turned off the app so I could just get on with my day without missing updates. It is my new habit to check the Google+ app only for photos from my dog, Claire. I can keep on editing and sharing pictures from Claire all morning, but I’m deleting the app at 6 p.m.

2. I used Twitter.

My pulse is still heavy, and Twitter is still fast and active on my phone. Twitter users and brands, from the architects to financial types, love to compare themselves to the influencers on Twitter. I don’t go on Twitter every day for fear of missing a smart rep, but I have used it to share my happiness. When I’m satisfied with what’s being tweeted about me, I’ll go on and share.

After I deleted Google+, I began checking my Twitter feed as a way to stay up to date. There are so many people sharing pictures on Facebook, and the ones I are interested in are no longer around. I’ve started a practice of at least five of their posts a day. It’s not a healthy ego trip, but it is worth reaching the top of my feed.

3. I reclaimed the day.

By my iPhone, I’m able to turn off email, texts and other distracting apps. By choosing not to open the app on my smartphone, I’m able to sleep for the whole day. If I get in a groove of ignoring notifications and being selective about what I’m reading, I realize life is a lot less crazy than I expected.

It’s a tough step, and no one day will be an exact repeat of my breakfast, Instagram and Google app pattern. But this morning, my caffeine kept me going. I know this sounds cheesy, but I’m actually thankful for the new habit.

As a case study for an upcoming article, here’s how this day unfolded:

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