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How to Stop Checking Your (My) Phone

As I battle my physical demons, the newsletter will probably be on this slightly off cadence as I struggle mightily throughout the week, thinking about what to write, failing and then at the last minute panicking and sharing a short snippet of something I love and enjoy.

LMP

I hope you do too :)

So where was I? Oh yea, my favourite personal development, web researcher, Mr. Barker has this to share on what the issue is with our minds and how we can all gain some perspective and a bit more happiness by not checking our phones ever so often.

From How To Stop Checking Your Phone: 4 Secrets From Research,

We’re not looking at the problem correctly. For starters:

You do not have a short attention span.
We have a “mind control” problem. But it’s not other people’s ability to control your mind. It’s your own.
We spend so much time trying to get others attention yet the true determinant of our happiness is where we direct our own.
So what do we do? Throw our phones in a wood chipper?

Well, I wouldn’t :) So what do we do?
We gain Attentional Control.
By strengthening the part of our brains called the Prefrontal Cortex (hereinafter referred to as the PFC), our thinking brain against the onslaughts of our lizard brain.

Here’s his 4 step plan in a nutshell.

1. Get your sleep. Get your exercise. Be healthy.

No sleep. PFC weak. That simple.
Even one round of exercise will improve your PFC strength.

2. Control your context.

Basically, what’s around you?
How is it that the phone slips into your hand and your thumbs go scrolling without you even realising it?
For me, I am a tech news junkie.
So if I am in a queue, or on the potty, or going to bed, I read!

And to fix that, I now rely on a simple trick I learnt in Atomic Habits.
Make any behaviour you want to encourage easier to do, and any behaviour you want to discourage harder to do.
So now, the news apps are not easily accessible, twitter is no longer installed, there are no notifications, and I have to type a complicated password to unlock the phone.
I am pleased to report, that while I am not completely cured, my consumption has dropped significantly.

3. Mindfulness

Well, this is my good habit!
Apparently it’s a good habit everyone should have.
Because, it is a superstrengthener of your PFC!
I even wrote a whole blog post about it.
Need I say more?

Well, I think Eric’s being a little sneaky here. When I look up, I see changes to mind, body and soul.
So in an even smaller nutshell, what he actually aims at is

4. Be the change, you want to see in yourself!

Once again, this is an idea I read in Atomic Habits.
The best way to sustain and build a habit?
By deciding that this is what I am like.
I hate exercise and physio, but I do it.
Why? Because I am a man with a broken back, who has learnt his lesson and wants to be healthy and pain free, and who exercises in order to stay that way.
I don’t stress about smoking.
Why? Because I am not a person who wants to ruin his life by being a smoker.
Vegetarians don’t stress about eating meat.
Why? Because they just don’t eat meat.

I decide, who I want to be :)
Like the old bon mot goes, It’s simple, not easy.
And it’s worth it.



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P.P.S. Feed my insatiable reading habit.