Sometimes we have to use “reverse principles” in order to break a bad habit. One of the ideas that James Clear writes about in his book Atomic Habits was the importance of not just forming new/good habits – but actions must be consciously taken to break old/bad habits that don’t serve our identity.
I admit that I get distracted – but I try and find ways to maintain my productivity, and one such resource I enjoy is both a website/blog and app of the same name: Rescuetime.
The link to Rescuetime will take you to an article about notifications, specifically those on our cell phones. I know I look at my phone MORE than I NEED to during my workday. Along the same lines – I want to break myself of the pressure I feel to “respond immediately” to people, or give others “instant gratification” even when I might not want to. I might be working. I might be dealing with my own issues. I might just be relaxing. No matter the reason – if it’s THAT serious, they will call and my phone will ring.
With that focus in the front of my mind, I decided the time for action is now!
I kept hearing the echo of James Clear repeating in my head saying “make it invisible” – which is the inverse action on the path to forming a good habit where he says “make it obvious”. So I set out to break this habit, or at least slow myself down.
- I went through my phone and deleted every app that I knew I wasn’t using or didn’t serve my goals (i.e. – shopping apps, mindless games, etc).
- I went to my “settings” menu (I have an iPhone, but I’m sure it’s somewhere similarly situated in Android land as well) – and I turned off all the noise/banner/badge alerts for every app that wasn’t actually important.
- I made sure “push” notifications in my apps was turned off.
- I rearranged my apps. I put all my ones that I KNOW I frequently check on the third “homepage” of my phone. This will make it more difficult to check and I will have to make a conscious choice of if I want to look at something (swipe twice to the right to find it).
I have employed and enjoy the “do not disturb” function on my phone for the night time – however I never gave much thought before to how much I am disrupted during my waking hours. I will be interested to see if my “screen time” data report at the end of the coming weeks changes!
How do you self-monitor/moderate your own habits? Do you feel like screen time is more than you’d like it to be?
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