The Expanse of Time: 

Whoever had said that time is a precious resource must have been joking. Atleast that’s what it feels like to live in the time of Covid. All those lessons of time and focus management seem to not hold weight when such a once in a generation crisis comes upon us. But, isn’t such talk our mind’s way of numbing us out of this  endless conundrum?

Isn’t there a possibility that we might all end up binge watching through carefully curated social media feeds, TikTok videos and Netflix shows in the name of killing time? All this content out there, aren’t we being set up for Digital Binging our way through this Pandemic? And, here’s the dramatic climax, we might even live to regret it. Gasp!

Wait. There’s still time to get out priorities right and get the most out of the time we’ve been given. Here’s how you can learn to manage your digital addictions and make new Social Media nutrition choices.

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Un Subscribe:

Disable notifications. When you enable or control notifications, it might seem like you’re in charge, but in reality you’re not. Give yourself 10 minutes of unstructured time on your phone for every 50 minutes of real work you’ve accomplished. Practice delayed gratification, over power your impulsiveness deliberately.

Check In:

Check in with your emotions periodically. Are you bored, lonely or dissatisfied at the moment, and that’s making you reach for your phone? Cultivate an exciting real life, its in your own hands. Talk to your children about what happened in their day. Teach them to hike and travel this world.

Email Tyranny:

There’s no doubt email is a necessity in the modern world. Planning events, coordinating family gatherings, sending a quick note to a loved one who lives far away – the advantages are endless. However, we often forget that no one is tying our productivity to the number of seconds it took us to respond to an “urgent” email.

Remove Temptations:

The average person is checking his phone every 4 minutes. New studies on addiction have revealed that when it comes to addictions, we’re not victims of our own “uncontrollable vices” but are products of our environment. Just like slot machines and then video game, our digital devices are designed to addicted, because they give complete the feedback loop for us. Recognition, connectedness and the false sense of efficiently managing our different streams of useless information. Prune your thoughts and surroundings.

Bad News:

Man’s stupidity, mother nature’s fury all that make up news. Fake news has influenced Presidential elections and celebrity fashion has changed our ideas about comfort clothing. One look at the comment section on any major news website and you can see that everyone feels like an Anderson Cooper shelling out his opinion like it matters.

Be Mindful:

Take charge of how and what information you ingest. Just be in the now. Just be Here. Now. Get grips with your boredom. Practice gratitude and leave sometime in the day for introspection and gratitude.

Stop Broadcasting:

Likes, hearts, saves, shares are buttons are designed to be addictive feedback loops. An 80 year old man recently gave me this lesson on how his view of Social media. “Yeah, yeah, I’ve “seen” your new car picture. That’s why I pressed the “love” button on it.” Its sad that generations of people are becoming victims to this narcisssitic epidemic.

Unplug Nightly:

Stop electrifying the night. Practice social media detox for 24 hours every week. There have been movement since 2014 or earlier, where tons of people have been part of the “Night of unplugging”. Learn and sign up. Read more about how other countries are adapting the Right to disconnect laws in workplaces.

Busy Distraction:

Teach yourself and your children that being busy doesn’t equate productivity. Learn how to use technology the right way and the most efficient way. Realize that you and your children might be under performing because your precious resources like time, attention, money are being spent online and away from your primary goals in life.

Noise Minimization:

Hotels, restaurants, books, movies – So many places you can champion the opinion on the internet. Ugh. Some books on Amazon.com have 3000 comments. Reddit is full of *$#$%*#$%#$%, that I know so many 20 year olds spend their entire days reading and laughing across coffee shops all across the world. Who are these people who have the time to consume everything that’s on the internet?? Why are we creating so much content?? Digital dementia is a real disease that’s not enabling us to use the content that’s most important and relevant to us.

Dive Deep:

When was the last time you actually indulged in something deeply – Deep thinking, deep work and deeply connectedness. Attention Residue is a huge load on our mental faculties. Its been proven that it takes 25 minutes to get back our attention to fully on what we were doing before we got distracted. When did you last single task on something? Or as Marie Forleo says, “Write your onesie” and stick with it until you can get to a meaningful break. Pay attention to your attention. Memes and Cat videos were created for entertainment.

Kick the Habit:

Bedrooms and bathrooms don’t need to be wired, unless you’re the president. Now a days, in public places when two people are talking face to face, I feel like their most mundane conversations are intense. I realize I feel that way because real human connections have been that way, full of life and electrifying.

Stop Shopping:

I mean photo shopping. Don’t listen to me, listen to the stories that Essena O’Neill told the world about her fake Instagram world that brought her fans from all the over the world. We’re basically paying for someone’s else’s creation of an artfully created social media post with our precious resources like focus and time. Let’s not be a generation despised by our daughters for being 45 year old mothers with duck faces.

Make an Impact:

Develop new interests. Create opportunities to interact with others. Make an impact, create a legacy. Create a real, rich life outside that is just as breathtaking as you. Be awesome, and be a lighthouse to lead others. People all over the internet are learning to make masks, cooking for the first time and learning their first key stroke on the piano!

Click Bait:

Stop searching. Every new search leads you to a new rabbit hole you are stuck for few hours. We say to ourselves, “I’m just going to check my email” or look at “that one text” and then we find that we’ve spent three hours perusing Facebook. Its ok if you don’t know what’s trending and whether the dress was blue of black. Cut your losses and move on.

Take Stock:

Of your life, your priorities, your goals and your relationships. Align all the six spokes of the wheel called life. Family, Finances, physical, mental, social and spiritual. Good food nourishes the body while good thoughts and positive stories nourish your mind. Validate your own choices in how you use the medium. Remember, everything is permanent on the internet.

Practice Equanimity:

Would you walk around greeting people with their duck face? Likes and hearts from strangers or “friends” don’t mean anything when you can’t have deep conversations with your loved ones who’re in the room with you. Walk the talk, if you want to see a different narrative on the internet, start with changing what you dump into it.

Had the best night on the internet. ~ Said no one ever.

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In Conclusion:

Here’s where you can start. Real life is not always as exciting as our social media feeds and Youtube recommendations make it out to be. Its boring, monotonous and painfully slow. And that’s what our brain thrives on. Deliberate, intentional and thoughtful actions. So, decide to slow down to the pace of nature atleast a few times in the day. This is our first step towards a better version of ourselves. One that has clarity of thought, independence of action, and the curiosity to innovate.

Are you ready to take a walk? Don’t forget to leave those ear plugs behind.

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Further Reading: 

Why are we addicted to our devices?

Find out if you’ve a digital addiction problem

3 strategies to counter distraction addictions

 

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