A few days ago, I downloaded one of those connect-the-dot apps. I was looking for a distraction and this particular app—unlike so many gaming apps—was aesthetically pleasing. It had the same illustrative quality as the Headspace meditation app that I use.
Unlike Headspace, however, this gaming app wasn’t designed to help me become more self-aware and present. Instead, it allowed my mind to wander and me to put off doing the work I needed to do.
When I noticed that I was unable to put my phone down after just one round of connecting nicely-coloured dots, I deleted the app.
I also took the time to reorganize the rest of the apps on my phone. I kept only eight apps on my home screen and put my email and social media apps in a folder four screens away. These apps had become too big of a distraction from the work I feel called to do.
Additionally, these apps were allowing me to sidestep boredom. Part of being a writer is being bored and—with limitless distractions available to me—periods of boredom have been few and far between these days.
When I’m bored is when I’ll sit down and write that piece I’ve been putting off. It’s when I’ll be able to focus on reading that book I’ve been meaning to get back to. Boredom pushes me out the door to go for a walk or to take a much-needed nap.
So, despite my appreciation for everything these digital tools allow for, I have noticed the ways that they have been encroaching on my life. I’m scrolling more than I’m reading books and checking my email more than I’m reaching out to potential clients.
It feels like every empty minute I have is being filled with distractions. While I tend to live in physically uncluttered spaces—with the exception of there usually being more books than shelf space—my digital spaces are overflowing with things that do no spark joy.
Which is why I’ve gone back to the basics. It’s why I’ve gone back to not checking my phone until noon each day. It’s why I’ve gone back to checking my email only twice a day.
Only a few days later, I already feel better. My head is clearer and I’m getting more done. Despite not being super clear on what my next professional steps need to be, I’m completely focused on the path ahead.
So, what distractions do you need to eliminate?