Recently came across a Ted Talk on how technology has overtaken our lives and how we aren’t spending enough time on creative thinking. This talk stresses on the connection between boredom and critical thinking and on how we could harness boredom to be more productive.
I second this finding. As the speaker states in the talk, these days we hardly spend any time without smartphones. No matter what we are doing, where we are going, we always carry our phones with us. I am absolutely guilty of this and in fact when I came across this talk it just made me realize how badly I am addicted to my smartphone. I tend to carry my phone everywhere and browse through the apps at every small opportunity I get, be it in the lift, while travelling, at home and yes I am guilty of using it in the restroom too.
So, we are talking about some serious smartphone addiction here. No wonder most times I feel so overwhelmed that my head literally reels with the information overload. It’s like a compulsive disorder, if I don’t check my phone for a few minutes I start feeling anxious and my brain sends out these alerts and instantly pushes me into this zombie – “Must check phone”, “ Must consume content” mode. As bad as the addiction may sound, this perpetual dependency on our phone can be reduced if we focus on the life outside the phone i.e. “The Real Life” rather than “The Virtual Life”. We get so distracted and lost in catching up with the happenings of the virtual world that we forget to connect and have meaningful interactions in the real world. Prior to the smartphone era, whenever we would get bored we would just stare out into the empty space, let our mind relax and as a result enable creative thinking.
So here are some practical tips to stay away from the phone and to stimulate your grey cells:
- Reach out to a magazine or newspaper or a book instead and get some fresh ideas and perspectives.
- Seize the moment – Have you been procrastinating minor tasks such as may be organizing your bills or visiting cards or just sorting your accessories or kids toys. Use the kaizen method and tell yourself that these tasks will take “No more than a minute” and once you get going, you will most likely complete them, so it will be a win-win for you.
- Pull out your journal or dairy and create your daily task list or grocery list or shopping list- Planning ahead will save your time and help you tackle these chores.
- Cook a quick meal– If you love cooking like me and have been saving up these delicious recipes from social media for like ever and never really tried any of it, then now is the time to experiment and give these yummy dishes a try. Start with one of the easy and quick to prepare dishes, whip up a smoothie or a salad and you might end up unleashing the master chef in you.
- Get social– Are you at a hospital waiting room or a bank and waiting for your turn? Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you, get some feedback about the doctor you are visiting or simply rant out about the bank, Socialize- at least it’s better than just staring at your device.
- Phone a friend or relative– Is your mobile internet down? Seize the opportunity and call a long lost friend or a relative you haven’t spoken to since a long time.
- Enjoy your free time– Next time you are bored just put your phone away for a while and breathe. You don’t need to constantly engage yourself in some activity. Just chill out and enjoy the calm, let your thoughts wander and “Do Nothing” for a change. It will spur your creativity and increase productivity.
The above list isn’t exhaustive. Do share your unconventional ideas to break the smartphone addiction.