Marking out our lives by years and dates is convenient for organizing events, but time is fluid and all events are dictated by cause-and-effect. Over the years I have learned how to better organize my projects, but time slips away. On the weekends when there is less to-do (or I just decide to let it all slide), time drags on.
Settling in for a long afternoon staring into a screen is an almost ubiquitous pursuit in the US, but these technological advances offer a mixed blessing. Our society has unheard of access to information, and at the same time manipulation of facts and fantasy has opened the door to propaganda on an international scale.
To restore my soul I find it helpful to get some distance between myself and my devices. Here are the things that I find help.
5 Steps to an Independent Mind
Taking time off from our devices is crucial to protecting our ability to reason objectively. Here are some easy ways to detach yourself from your media consumption.
1. In the morning
Before breakfast give your own thoughts and dreams priority. After “sleeping on it” your early morning thoughts contain wisdom on whatever issues you are wrestling with. Start the day by writing these down, without having to make them palatable, objective, or even sensical to anyone at all. These fragments contain the seeds to your particular genius, and will tell you in what direction you will find the success you seek.
2. When you eat
When you eat with others putting your phone away indicates that you value the time you are spending together. Even if it’s people you see all the time, being present to each-other will build stronger relationships. When you eat alone take the time to smell and take pleasure in the elements of the food you are eating. This way you will not stuff yourself with garbage!
3. Be selective
Notice when you find yourself compulsively flicking on a screen. You don’t have to read every text or email the instant it buzzes your pocket. Turn down, or turn off, push notifications. Put your phone on standby to remove the temptation to constantly check it. I have found wearing a smart-watch to check my notifications in a glance allows me to stay focused on what I’m doing. I am less likely to get drawn into reading content, or distracted by checking push notifications, and I know if there is something that will need to be addressed in a time-sensitive way.
4. Before Bed
Put the phone to bed at least 30 minutes before you tuck in. Read a book, connect with your partner and family, or just let your mind wander - you never know where it will take you! If you tend to ruminate try starting a journal that you don’t plan to share with anyone, you can process whatever is stressing you out instead of running away from your thoughts. The things we deny have a way of coming up in compulsive and destructive behaviour.
5. Go Off-Leash
Taking time to turn the phone off and leave it in a drawer is incredibly rewarding. Whether it is for the duration of a walk, an entire weekend, or longer. Taking time to let your mind relax, even to be bored, will boost your creativity and focus your thoughts.