Saturday, September 20, 2014

Two Life Hacks: Dump Your Smart Phone. Eradicate Facebook's News Feed

I latch on to things; mentally: sometimes, I suspect it bothers on being obsessive. If a concept catches my fancy, I could latch on to it till I wear myself out. If I am confronted by a problem which I can't immediately solve, I find it really hard to get it out of my mind until I have it figured out.

This tendency is not necessarily a bad thing; at least it guarantees the tenacity and tunnel vision often required to crack through problems and grok non trivial concepts...


it also has it's downsides: I realized that, yes, I could develop tunnel vision easily and focus on stuff, paradoxical as it may sounds, it also leads to a state where I find it hard to concentrate. It seems I get so consumed over a thing, the patience required for the state of mind needed to concentrate flies off the window.  And as everybody soon get to discover, tunnel vision isn't always the answer: sometimes you need to let go, take a step back and look at things from a different point of view; a thing that may not come easily when locked in a latching mode I am quick to slip into.

And then when you find yourself latching on to activities that benefits little, then the mental and emotional exhaustion comes real quick and swift.

I latch on to social media...and that is not a very productive thing to latch unto so yes, I get exhausted quick and swift. And from discussion with friends and colleagues I suspect they don't feel the same level of exhaustion I feel with all the social media, social networking, 24/7 connectedness and being able to consume media on the go: at home, in the metro, at work in the rest room...there is just no escaping. It seems they can cope with it; just time wasters they indulge in now and then...

For me though, it goes past just being time wasters. It felt like something I had to consciously snatch myself away from. I mentioned the adverse effect this was having on me in April 30, 2013  and Getting Personal. Even though I mentioned in these posts I already kicked the “addiction”, the kicking just did not stick...until now. I think I finally have it sorted: Thanks to two changes I recently made.

1. First Hack: Dumped my Smart Phone. Replaced it with a dumb phone.

This singular act was the ultimate move that made the detox possible. It's been over a month now since I dumped my smart phone and can't stress enough how much this has helped. My current phone is what phones used to be. I can call and be called, I can send and receive SMS, I can write notes, and I can play zuma and sudoku. Good enough for me.

I feel so much less stressed and relieved!

The only downside of dumping my smart phone, I can point to, is the little hassle of finding and going to places I never visited before. This is a lot easier when you have Google maps in your pocket. I deal with this by checking on Google maps, using street view before stepping out and well, I also get to talk to strangers more and ask for directions; something which I think is not a bad thing.

2. Second Hack: Installed News Feed Eradicator Plugin

The plugin is here

Just as its name states: It basically eradicates your news feed: a part of Facebook which has increasingly grown less useful, but has turned into the major source of stress and distraction for me. It is not an anomaly to want to take a quick peek on Facebook only to be sucked into the unending stream of mind numbing contents, powered by trivial posts, cat videos, punk videos, narcissistic status updates etc and before the bat of an eye, close to an hour goes to waste...

Why this works? well for one, I cant really use any other browser anymore: Chrome is king; so the option of just popping open Facebook in another browser does not come up. And since the plugin only removes the news feed (which is better than blocking the site), I still get to type in into the address bar, I guess as often as I used to, just that, now I don't get sucked into the rabbit hole that is the news feed. I only get to see people I can chat with and notifications that directly affects me. And that has been a real blessing.

It has been over a month now and it feels as if I finally cracked it. Let's see how things goes, but I am optimistic it won't turn south; not with these hacks in place!

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JJ said...

What dumb phone did you use?

dade said...

A Samsung GT-E1280