phone apps

Phone Addiction: Reclaiming my life and days

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Around a week or so ago, an event happened to a friend of mine that changed my life as well. My friend (and accountability partner) was painting her kitchen and had a bucket of water near her when she accidentally dropped her phone in the bucket. She had to dry out her phone for several days, so that meant no phone for her during that time. Curiously, at this same time I was noticing that I was spending way too much time on my phone, especially continually checking email and social media. At the end of the day, or even during the day it would feel as though my brain were scrambled and confused from information overload. It was such a happy accident that my friend went without her phone for a few days, because it was a wake-up call to me that living without a phone, or reducing your time significantly on it can be so, so valuable.

Before this big change which I will tell you about here, I was spending an average of 4-5 hours a day on my phone. I know that some of that was listening to podcasts, however I know a lot of time was wasted checking too many apps too many times in a row. I was shocked at how much time I was spending on my phone, but I noticed I would go back to the same habits. Since I had been exploring the concept of the present moment so much and wondering why we are all so afraid of the present moment, I decided to create a different daily experience to reclaim my days. It is important to note that I am not perfect. At times I really feel like checking in on something, so I may do that, but my habits have gotten so much better over the past few days and the results have been astounding.

First of all, my first few minutes of the day are not spent checking in on anything on my phone. I have started to meditate, then exercise first thing in the morning. I used to use the timer on my phone for meditation but that caused me to launch into checking other things. So, now I use the oven timer for meditation.

My accountability partner and I have cooperated on how many messages we now leave each other per day as far as our progress and things we have learned. The limit on the messages means that we both have a big part of the day that is dedicated to focused work. That is so very important that you have time during your day to really focus and not be distracted by notifications, messages, apps, texts, emails and phone calls. This means report on what is to get done in the morning and then we don’t come back until the afternoon to report on how we have done for the day. This system works great!

I have also set a short amount of time to post on social media for my business which includes Facebook and Instagram. I do quickly check notifications and answer comments/questions. Over the last few days I have met a friend in person for tea, but I have not really looked at a lot of what is going on with people’s lives on Facebook. At the beginning it can feel like maybe you are not in the loop as far as the news with people that you know. However, I feel much more connected to people when I am able to meet with them in person over coffee, tea or a meal. I am making that type of connection a priority right now. I can text, email or call people as well who are long distance. I don’t have to be “in the know” about every detail at every moment because I have found that it really overloads my brain and I don’t have the capacity to be at my best for myself, my business or my family in that scrambled state.

I have noticed that if I have focused work time from 8:30am-11:30am I can accomplish an amazing amount of work. I can do a lot of writing, following up with people, work on my website and more. This is my real creative time and if I keep my brain clear it can really work for me. I have been amazed at how productive such a short work time can be if you really keep focused and on task.

After I have had lots of productive time in the morning I can then enjoy a lunch break, do some projects or chores, do some errands, spend time reading a book and more. I have more free hours to really explore life. The other day I even got out a paint set and painted on some nice multi-media paper and had a relaxing time.

In the evenings I can relax sooner after dinner, chat with my family, have family reading time and more. Limiting the time on my phone has brought me more time, more peace of mind, more focus and more present moment awareness.

I realize that I really was addicted to my phone. I think often when I was checking email and social media was that I was searching for validation, searching for proof that I was enough. I don’t need that because I have the present moment to tell me that I have infinite possibilities to explore in life.

Have you found that you are spending too much time on your phone? Are you checking email and social media too much? What has your experience been with this?

Feel free to comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Dealing with Distractions

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We all know how distracting life can be these days. There is email: multiple emails & accounts to keep track of, notifications on our phones, twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Instagram & more! There are so many things that can take our precious time away from us, it slips through our hands like sand. Many times it is not even a question of spending hours on these things at a time; but a few minutes here and a few minutes there really add up. This is a bad habit I am working hard to break in 2018 and because it is such a problem I want to share with you what issues I have and how I am working on this so that I can be more present, relax and do creative things in the afternoons. 

I am a very goal oriented person and love to have to-do lists, intentions and more each day. However, I can be as easily derailed from these tasks and also from just being present in the world and enjoying some true, distraction-free downtime by spending too much time on my phone and on the computer doing things other than writing blog posts or creating menus for my meal service business. It can be so easy to be distracted many, many times a day. 

Full Disclosure- I am so, so guilty of being distracted! I know my danger time to be distracted is in the afternoons. I have usually used up my very best 4-5 morning hours when I work best and I feel a bit depleted. So, it is easy to say "oh, I'll just look quickly at my messages, emails, etc." But, that turns into many minutes. I'll then try to start in on another task and be distracted again. Sometimes it will be a "loop" of checking email, then checking social media, then checking messages and then over again. 

Yesterday, I had gone through this "loop" in the afternoon. However, something changed in me when I head my friend Harriet Morris's podcast The Eating Coach on the Pauly Principle. She explains it very well in her resource section: http://www.theshiftinside.com/pauly/

The basic principle as she explains it is: 

"If you repeat an action often enough it will become automatic and therefore effortless."

That means, if we replace the action of checking our phones with some other activity and do it often enough, then it will become automatic. Later on Harriet gives ideas about rewarding yourself (in this case in dealing with eating sugar or junk food) for stepping away from the craving for 5 minutes. She suggested writing these reward ideas in your journal. So, that triggered me to try it. The craving really did pass in 5 minutes when I engaged in a different activity. 

My list of replacement behaviors are: 

1. Drink tea or water.

2. Color in a coloring page.

3. Put on some hand lotion that I love the smell of.

4. Take a photo with my new camera, test it out. 

+ other short, creative or healthy/fun ideas. 

I began to try this yesterday afternoon and it really worked! I again worked on it this morning and was able to walk away from my phone after turning off a podcast without going into my endless "loop" of checking things. I did a coloring page and also have put on the hand lotion. It smells so good! What great rewards that bring happiness! I also made time to have "art time" with my son. I painted and colored my dot-to-dot picture while he drew a comic with his new graphic pens he got for Christmas. So much fun! We both loved that time together. 

I encourage you to try this for any "impulse" or "craving" you may have to be distracted. 

I will be reporting on my progress with this as well. 

Update with progress: January 12, 2018: 

For most of this week I have been sick with the flu. ( I wrote the body of this blog post around 1 week ago) This illness left me so, so tired! I was not able to do much for many days. As a result, I tended to check email and my phone too much. However, as I am beginning to be on the mend today I am going to stick with not checking social media until lunchtime. I will stick to my time limit and work on using my replacement behaviors. I am aware that it can be lonely working at home by myself and this is why often I check things too often, but I do really, really want to develop better habits so I am going to be working on this much more today. :) 

With lots of care,

Trista