Two days ago I found myself scrolling mindlessly for half an hour and I decided I need to decide for real as to how I’m going to deal with this issue.
The problem with such a habit is that it is very convenient, engaging and it slices into precious time that I’d rather spend doing something more difficult and rewarding like reading.
While devising a strategy to deal with this behaviour, I concluded that videos themselves (long and short form) are the culprit to these new time sinks that I’ve been experiencing.
Another neural bait that cyber/social attention engineers employ to capture my attention is the use of vivid colours and forcing unnecessary notifications in places where I’d simply prefer getting in, completing a specific task and getting out. For this very reason, I hate youtube and instagram for integrating shorts into the main application and not allowing a way to disable them.
Given I plan to create content based on my interests, I cannot do away with these platforms completely.
A few decisions I’ve taken for damage control given the inevitability of the need to be on such platforms for content creators are as follows:
- Limit usage to specific times of the day and only if I want to post something, never to consume content
- I listen to most of my podcasts on spotify and fallback to youtube only in cases I needed something more peculiar
- always read up first before I watch a video describing the same :
always prefer text - It’s faster and more precise for me.
- the alternative is just me being lazy and I’d rather relax than watch something of importance lazily.
- Using my phone in grayscale mode at all times : this is a life-saver, my eyes have never felt so well rested (It’s been more than a week now).
- building a habit of reading on my phone rather than scrolling :
this is a relatively more demanding ask and has to be dealt with
- I maintain around half a dozen active reads (all ebooks) at a time so that I can read according to my whims and am not stuck to a specific kind of content at all times of the day.
- Be patient, and meditate mathematically and philosophically, on my environment, playing my own mental games.
- Not pulling out the phone during the smallest of breaks is another useful habit.
- If I do have to consume a long form video, I’ll add it to watch
laters and only listen to the audio during walks or commutes.
- If it is important, written sources will always exist and should be preferred over videos.
- Limit instagram usage to my desktop; again only to post content
regarding my content creation pursuits.
- All the important people in my life have my cell number accessible.
- being okay with being bored - This is a superpower.
Consuming mostly text throughout my day does help with not overstimulating my mind.