It has been 30 days since I started to fix my attention deficit. In this post, I will take you along in the good, the bad, and the ugly of trying to improve my attention deficit.
Most of the time that I spent on social media was now blocked. Just 15 minutes per day. Seeing my apps being blocked made me realize how much of my time I have been spending on autopilot. Feeling bored? Open an app.
I evaluated which social media actually brought value to my life. And I considered Instagram to not be one of them. And I decided to remove it from my phone. I almost never used it to see content from my friends and family. As the algorithm was pushing me creators I don't follow. Why spend time on it?
I discovered a plugin for Youtube called Unhook. It removes all recommendations, autoplay, homepage, etc. You can only search for a video and watch it or go to your subscriptions! A great addition to make sure I actually stop watching after my intended video.
Having my social media access shut off after 15 minutes per day made me realize I have a lot of those spare 15/30 minutes. I normally would watch a Youtube video or scroll through social media. But now it opened up an unknown slot of free time!
In my spare moments over the last 30 days, I was able to achieve more than I thought. Here's a summary.
I was able to finally start using some of the Udemy Business courses I wanted to follow. I was able to dive into my interest in personal finance :
- Follow a course on technical analysis of stocks
- Read a lot on the concept of Fire.
I tried to make it a habit to not spend time on my phone in bed anymore. I loaded some books on my reader and started reading. I was able to read additional 30-ish minutes per day. If you want to see my read books in real-time, add me on Goodreads. I read:
- The making of a manager
- Ikigai (thanks for the recommendation Dennis)
- Started a re-read of On Writing Well
As some of you might have noticed, I was able to write more blogs. I tried to improve my knowledge about keyword research. A high of 5 posts in the month of August. High score! Besides fixing my attention deficit post I wrote:
- Learn and document: A beginners guide to developer stock options.
- Combined a philosophy I used as a football coach years ago with being a manager. Leveling engineers with Wiel Coerver's football ideas.
- Wrote a blog on one of my favorite topics, metrics! What has blogging brought me so far?
- A fun little research on comparing salaries. Do engineering managers make more than engineers?
My close relatives primarily use Facebook Messenger as the primary means of communication. It took a while before I discovered that if you use ios screentime to limit Facebook, that includes Messenger. After discovering I let them know if it was something urgent, use WhatsApp or call me.
Another thing I experienced is what I like to call the boredom muscle. At the start of blocking all social media, I became aware of how often I was bored or uncomfortable. Previously, I would open social media and scroll. Now that I face a blocked page, this requires me to confront my boredom.
I can be better at confronting my boredom. A big step forward in living more intentionally is to ask me the question: "Okay I'm bored right now, what is something that I want to do?". At this point, I'm made aware of my bad habits, but I find it challenging to take the step forward.
At the highlight of my confrontation with my attention deficit, I started to find other ways to get my social media fix. I found myself mindlessly refreshing random apps like Strava. If I got a blocked social media app, I would try to open another one.
This experiment has really made me realize how much of a social media addict I was.
Fixing my attention deficit was in my eyes a big success. I feel more intentional with my time and have found the time to do several things I lacked the time for. And the best thing? I'm not even missing social media.
I do have a somewhat hate/love relationship with Twitter. I feel I sort of need it for promoting this blog and connecting with like-minded individuals. And honestly is a big part of my idea generation machine. I like Kevon Cheong's approach to making Twitter more intentional. Read about it in his book finding joy in chaos.
I am going to split up social media into two groups. I want to keep using Twitter for a 15-minute max. But the other social media forms can be reduced to <5 minutes.
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