Reclaiming my mind

Hi. I’m Sanna. I’m a smartphone junkie. How disturbingly satisfying it is to reach for it, open it up, and find something new. Inspiration! Knowledge! Weird shit you never asked for, but has now been delivered to your inbox, with love, the internet

This impact and effect this little device had on me were never more present than right after Vipassana. I came out and it felt so strange to yet again have the world in my hands. I started going through what had happened during my ten days off the grid.

Turned out, not much, really. 

What happened to me, being connected again, was that I fell right into my old habits. Like an alcoholic might feel when falling off the wagon, I felt a bit nauseous at first but got over it quickly. There are a million excuses for continuing the way I used too, but for the sake of reclaiming my brain and owning my phone rather than letting it own me, changes had to be made.

Long ramble for getting to the point, which is sadly short and if you have ever read an article about productivity, there’s nothing new to find here. Sorry about that. But I know some of you have considered these ideas without taking any steps to actually implementing it.

In that case, take this as your personal reminder. 

Notifications, be gone

I don’t understand how anyone gets anything done with notifications pinging every other minute, but if that works for you, be my guest. This was step one in getting some sanity back. The only push notifications I get is when someone calls me, sends me a message on messages or WhatsApp, or pays an invoice. 

Flight mode and do not disturb

My phone automatically goes into Do not disturb mode between 8 pm and 9 am. I put my phone in airplane mode when I go to bed and ideally don’t put it back until midday, but in reality sooner. Rarely before 9 though, so I at least get a couple of hours of no phone time.

Casual relationship with social

One time my manager asked me how to search on Twitter if you didn’t have an account. “I don’t know, I’ve never logged out”, was my reply.

Some years later, the Twitter and Facebook apps are long gone (except for Messenger). When I log in on desktop or mobile, I always log out when I’m done. 

At one point I’ll deal with Instagram as well. I deleted the app for a week this summer, not really missing it, so we’ll see what I do in the future. Definitely the most addictive app I have right now.

Write your heart out

Moving on to bigger perspective than what goes on with your phone - training your mind to not be in consuming mode by default. Journaling in the morning is a helpful habit for this. Google can help you with ideas for structure on this. Personally, I just write whatever comes to mind, and at times experiment with adding different formats. Like listing things to be grateful for, or forcing yourself to come up with ideas. 

Take a hike

And by hike, I just mean getting your ass out the door and walk. Getting some fresh air and letting your thoughts wander gives perspective.

This is based on the assumption that you’re not walking with your nose in your phone, of course.

Meditation

I could not skip mentioning this. Just do it. 

If you’re struggling with the why and how of meditation, I recommend this interview with Dan Harris on The James Altucher Show.