In old times when there was no high speed internet I wonder what could possibly distract a person from focusing on a particular task. Perhaps it was some friend who comes to visit or some activities going on the the house or a phone call but that’s about it. 

In this scenario simple act of physically separation from distraction would be enough, something as simple as staying in out room will allow us to focus on activities at hand. But today’s hyperconnected world doesn’t have the same distractions and yet some how I catch myself trying to use the same solutions on my studies. 

Even if I lock myself in my room still if there is internet in phone it’s like trying to fast while sitting at a table where delicious food is already served in front of us and we are expected to just avoid the temptation. 

In the book hyperfocus the author says while he starts his writing he switches on a distraction blocking app in his phone, puts it in anather room and then works. Not only that he tries to work offline as much as possible and schedules these hyperfocus time blocks for accomplishing difficult tasks. 

After reading this book I made some changes to my own digital life which seem to be paying off. 

  1. I took freedom app yearly subscription which now allows me to block the distraction apps or entire phone for a scheduled period of time. While working I use this feature in small chunks as we can’t afford to be unavailable for too long in today’s world. I mostly use it in 2 hour basis. 
  2. After watching one of swamiji’s video about studying effectively I had started using pomodoro timer app in my phone which as of this moment boasts 4226.9 pomodoros. This is by far the best productivity hack I used all thanks to swamiji. 
  3. To start new habits and continue old ones I now keep a checklist which is a boring task for someone like me but I do see the value now as it helps me to stay consistent. 

However this post was not to give productivity hacks or to say that I have it all figured out because I don’t. This was to highlight that despite these changes I have been noticing way too much of time going into watching videos online on YouTube/Netflix etc. Even though I try to stay away from them still while eating food, sitting idle, doing office work where there was small blocks of time where there is nothing to do I end up consuming a lot of content. These things may seem irrelevant when looked at in silos but it all adds up. 

These is the time which is simply slipping through my fingers while I am living in illusion that I don’t consume much content. Our brains need rest as well and even though binge watch may seem like rest our brains are engaged while we watch these things so they don’t really get to rest.

We are living in times where we have lost the importance of undesirable but beneficial activity of simply being idle for sometime. It’s not necessary to browse phone while travelling, waiting for someone/something, standing in some queue. So keeping all this in mind I take a small sankalpa of not using my phone whole eating for next one month. Depending on success in this endeavor other cracks will also be sealed one by one. 

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Sonia Kataria

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