I Turned Off my Phone for 7 Days: Day 1
My phone is a big distraction, so I want to see what happens if I don't have my phone for 7 days.
Last night I turned off my phone as I occasionally do when I go to sleep, and this morning when I woke up I decided to leave it off, GASP! For the past 3 days I had been thinking about what would happen to my productivity if I just turned off my phone for 30 days. My initial thoughts were:
How are you going to meditate without the Waking Up app?
How are you going to take pictures to practice photography?
What if you need to transfer money from your bank accounts?
How will you track your food intake or your workouts?
What about communication with family?
All excuses and I almost convinced myself not to do it, but after some thought, I realized all of these things could be done with my laptop. You see I only use my laptop for research, work, and the occasional youtube video binge. All I have to do is avoid youtube on my laptop, and I believe that I will be able to effectively increase my productivity.
However, this 7 day cleanse is more about peace of mind than about increasing my productivity. For some reason, I am constantly unlocking my phone just to end up locking it 2 seconds later. I think I do this to get rid of my boredom, but maybe I'm making a mistake by not allowing myself to be "bored". Meditation when observed from the outside and with a lack of understanding of what it is, seems to be a boring activity. Sam Harriss even calls is the "Art of Doing Nothing". I mean how more boring can something get than the art of doing nothing?
Then you listen to a podcast like The Tim Ferriss Show where he interviews world-class performers in all sorts of fields (business, acting, military, comedy, medical, sports, etc.). Here you learn that many of these people who are the best in what they do, practice some sort of mindfulness activity, like meditation, daily writing, or simply pausing for a few minutes of their day to be alone. All these mindfulness activities do not seem exciting when compared to most viral videos on Youtube, but still, they are the activities that these people attribute much of their continuing success to. These boring activities appear to be a part of the puzzle. The puzzle of living a life where you not only get to do what you love, but you get to do it like no one else can.
What would happen then if I filled my life with more of these "boring" activities? All we have control of is what we give our attention to. I have created the habit of giving my phone my attention even in the moments when I want to focus on something else in my life, like my writing or my podcast. I am solely responsible for this habit, and to break it I have to make the habit harder to do. I've simply gone the route of completely shutting off my phone.
The beauty of my laptop is that it's not always in my pocket. I get to separate from the entire knowledge of the world for longer periods of time and connect with the parts of myself that I have not figure out.
I decided that 30 days was a bit of a jump. A little like going from zero to taking 5 grams of psychedelic mushrooms, and we all know how that ended last time... it was fun, then not so fun. So instead I'm going to test the waters with 7 days. Nothing too crazy.
This is the end of the first day. I can honestly say I don't miss it. What I notice is that I have less of a fear of missing out. That may sound paradoxical since turning off your phone in today's world is the equivalent of taking a rowboat out into the middle of the ocean; meaning that you will without a doubt miss out on something. My inability to check what the world is up to because I don't have my phone makes it okay in my mind to miss out.
I'm excited to see how this turns out. I'll see you on the other side.
This is an ongoing post and I'll come back in the coming days to report on what happens.