I have been addicted to the distraction of technology for some time. In my early 20's I wasted whole days, if not strings of days channel surfing through an endless loop of cable tv channels. It was so bad that my poor dog had to beg me to take him out and showering seemed like too much work. Yikes! Not long after I screwed my life up by not handling my shit, I decided I wasn't allowed to have a tv in my house. Enter, the age of social media and everything being available on your computer.. ack! While, I have never gone back to how extreme my time wasting was in the past (or so I thought), I knew that this one habit was still taking up way too much of my time and keeping me from gaining momentum on my goals. I didn't know just how much this was true until I decided to handle it.. as opposed to just feeling miserable and guilty thinking about handling it, while obsessively scrolling through facecrack. To take action, I decided to take one day a week off of all social media and tv/video or movies of any kind.
As soon as my eyes popped open, on the first day of my "no distraction day", I literally PANICKED. "What was I going to do all day?" Was the first thought that came in. Holy shit! Was I really on some form of social media or video watching all damn day long?? The answer is undeniably, YES. Being that I could now conveniently lobotomize myself on my handheld everywhere I go, I didn't realize how much I was on the freakin thing. When it was the tv holding my attention, it was very obvious when I spent a whole day zoning out. The indent in the couch cushion gave me away, as did the sore thumb from constant button pushing on the remote. With my addiction seated securely in the palm of my hand, the external scenery changed, though the focus of my attention did not.
Once I got over my initial panic and shock, I got on with my day. Sometimes, I would find my hand automatically reaching for the phone, or pushing the facebook icon like a knee jerk reaction. It may sound weird, but in those moments when I would have to physically stop myself from my habitual dive into the phone, I actually had to remind myself that I was safe. Crazy, how deep this thing can go. As the day progressed, I noticed that I became calmer. I noticed the trees and the clouds. I noticed that my thoughts became uncluttered and joy waltzed into the newly open spaces in my consciousness. About halfway through the morning, I got really excited. The possibilities of what exciting things I could do with all this new space and clarity got me enthusiastically making lists and taking stock of my life. That day I got more done, with more joy, then the whole previous week! In the 2 months or so since then, I have kept my one day a week, with short exceptions to post things like my blogs on FB. On the other days of the week, I have found that I am much better at noticing the downward spiral of brain sucking device addiction sooner and spend less time on there in general. There are still days I get caught, but not for long. The cool thing is now that it's more under control I can actually ENJOY watching a show or movie without the previous guilt.
Probably the best benefit is that my inspiration channels are much more open. Without the clogging effect of constant external input from facecrack, youtube and tv, I can actually HEAR my muse when she calls. I invite you to try this yourself. Pick one day a week and stick with it! A big bonus is if you listen in on the emotion or feeling that causes you to reach for your device in the first place. I have found it is often a way for me to avoid dealing with something going on internally. Feeling uncomfortable? Go on facebook. Feeling doubt or not sure what do with your day? Reach for the phone. In this way, it can become a reminder to check in with yourself. I am curious.. what triggers you to go online or to whatever your addiction is? How did taking the pacifier away affect how you deal with it?
As always, we are all in this together!