When I started this experiment (7 days with NO phone or social media), it wasn’t for any other reason than to focus on my work and eliminate distractions. I didn’t intend on writing a follow up blog but I’ve had some interesting insights so far (I’m starting this draft on day 3) and will document the remaining days here until completion.
I think some of my radical ideas come from Tim Ferris. For anyone who has read his book, The 4 Hour Workweek, you understand what I mean. Less than halfway into the book I was unsubscribing from every newsletter, setting up autoresponders and thinking of new ways to be more effective with my time (like setting up phone calls rather than in-person meetings when it makes more sense). A couple of the questions from the book run through my mind often, particularly:
- Am I being productive or just active?
- Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
- If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?
The challenge for me has been, now that I have this awareness and I notice what I’m doing, how do I stop doing it? I’m not always the most disciplined person, so at times, I have to take drastic measures to test my strength, push myself and see what I’m capable of. Then, after an experiment like this, the goal is to strike a balance between the habits I had before and the new habits I’ve developed.
Work was something that just wasn’t getting enough attention since I got back to the U.S. and I kept thinking, this must be part of the readjustment process, but I knew that something drastic had to happen for me to get back into a habit of productivity. And so… The 7 Day Experiment was born:
- Turn my cell phone off completely
- No phone calls unless it relates to projects
- No Facebook
One thing to be noted is that I live with 2 roommates so this was not an exercise in becoming a recluse or removing myself from human relationships, just giving myself the opportunity to focus without my own methods of distraction… The desire to share something, the desire to reach out, the desire to make plans…
Day 1 (Friday) - Channeling Creative Genius
At first I had to stop and think about the “turning my phone off” thing… I love Pandora, what about Google Maps and my weather app?? Maybe I could put it in Do Not Disturb mode or Airplane mode or ?? I knew some distracting alerts or messages would make their way through, so I decided if I was going to do this thing, I was going to turn the phone off and put it away… not even carry it in my purse.
So I did it. I literally put my phone in a box under my nightstand.