Archives for the month of: October, 2016

I performed a little experiment on myself last week: I set rules for when I could and could not use my phone during the course of the day. Here’s what I found out:

  1. I am more attached to my phone than I thought. I like to think that I’m less obsessed with my phone than most people (like that makes me awesome, or something). But, as I discovered last week, that is not the case. I turned my phone on silent while I was at work and forced myself to look at it only twice a day (about 3 out of 5 days last week, this did not pan out), and I was itching to check my texts anytime I had a bit of a slow spot during the day.
  2. I sleep so much better when I leave my phone alone for at least an hour before bed. I’ve read this in various places before: you should not be looking at your phone, tablet, TV, etc. before bed because it keeps you from falling asleep. But it’s so hard to forgo screen time (especially Netflix!) at night, especially if that is how you wind down. I’ll tell you something, though: I really believe this now. I forced myself to put my phone down around 9pm each night last week and, for the most part, I fell asleep more quickly and stayed asleep all night.
  3. I do more things for myself without my phone. I felt like superwoman last week: I did several loads of laundry, did some major cleaning that I had been putting off, cooked more, and read more at home. Sometimes, I get lost on my social media apps or a silly game on my phone when I could be doing something else way more productive. I’m not bashing those things (because, believe me, sometimes I just need to sit down with Angry Birds for awhile and not think!), but they don’t have to be my go-to activity every time. And, just as a disclaimer, I’m sure that I won’t continue these feats of amazing productivity each week :).
  4. I talk to my friends and family and am more engaged in the conversation. I had to cheat a little and use my phone to discover this, but there is one key aspect of that statement: I actually called people instead of texting them. I am the queen of texting–if I can text someone instead of calling them, I do it. I know that sounds terrible (and I’ve felt guilty about this for years!), but once I made a conscious decision to forgo texting for an actual phone call, I felt that I was really able to catch up with my family and friends.
  5. There is no hard and fast rule for everybody. Don’t feel guilty if you use your phone a lot! Don’t feel guilty if you don’t! Do what works for you. I wanted to test out some options to improve my personal well-being and there are some I’ll use and some I won’t. That’s life and that’s the way it should be–everyone should do what works best for them and their life situation.

Has anyone done a phone “purge” in your life? Any results, good or bad?

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Two weeks ago, I was feeling burned out and easily distracted at work. It didn’t seem to matter what I did, I could barely muster the concentration to complete my tasks. When I reached a serious point of frustration, I remembered a productivity app I had read about on a business site. The app was designed to let the user block websites that consume their time and drain their productivity. When I originally learned about the app, I thought they were interesting, but that I could muster my own willpower. In the midst of agonizing over to use the apps or not, I remembered a story my pastor told the church congregation during a sermon. It was about a man who could not stop himself from looking up pornography on his iPhone. He ultimately smashed his phone against a rock to free himself of the temptation and replaced his smartphone with a dumb phone. Finding the thought of breaking my computer to be impractical, I installed the website blocking app.

It was the best decision I could have made. Immediately my temptation disappeared along with the feeling of being burned out. Granted, it is my PC so I have the power to uninstall the app, but the reminder that I should be working is a powerful motivator. The app kept me focused during working hours and instead of being a source of temptation, the time-wasting websites became a reward once work was finished. There are times when willpower alone isn’t enough. This is especially true when you’re in a situation where you work from home and no one is directly looking over your shoulder. I’m glad such apps exist to help quash temptation when it appears.

 

Have you ever had a difficult time motivating yourself to complete tasks at work? If so, how did you remedy the problem?

fujitsu-loox-ub50n-in-desktop-mode-by-steve-paine-of-flickr

Fujitsu Loox U/B50N in desktop mode by Steve Paine of Flickr

I love this time of year–I’m breaking out my sweaters and scarves, sipping on hot coffee and tea instead of iced, and snuggling down under blankets when I get home from work instead of sweating. As much as I love the summer, I was ready when the cooler weather rolled in this year and I’m embracing it. I tend to “hibernate” when the weather cools off: I eat bigger, more comforting meals and spend less time outside and exercising; this year, I’m making a plan for myself so I don’t fall into a rut like that.

It’s a bit easier now to exercise outside (November onward it gets so much harder because of the cold and it gets darker earlier), so I try to take advantage of it as often as I can. In the morning, if it’s nice and I have some extra time (this doesn’t happen as often as I’d like…), I try to walk to the next train stop after mine; it’s a little over a mile away from me and more trains stop there than at my station. It’s such an easy way to get myself moving in the morning and I find that I’m more alert when I arrive at work. I also try to walk more often at lunch; I’m in a busier part of the city now (at my last job, I was in a less busy, very touristy section of the city with plenty of parks), but I can take as short or long a walk as I’d like and there is plenty to see! If I haven’t done either of these things during the work day, I have to drag myself out of my apartment after work to go to a nearby park to walk. It’s beautiful there and I love it, but once I get home from work and put on more comfortable clothes and eat, it’s more difficult to motivate myself to leave again. In the end, it’s so worth it–I feel better for exercising and I sleep better that night.

I make a lot of crock pot meals during the colder months–it’s convenient because I can make a large amount of something and freeze my leftovers for the the few days. Recently, I’ve been looking into healthy alternatives for some recipes I use; for example, I love chili but instead of using ground beef, I’ve tried making vegetarian chili (it turned out great, by the way!)–it tasted the same and I didn’t have to feel as guilty eating it! Also, I don’t buy any sugary drinks or ice cream for myself–if I get a craving for something sweet, I make something for myself and I make sure the ingredients are healthy.

So far, I think these things have worked for me: I feel better mentally and physically because I’m taking an active role in my own well-being. I know there is still spring-like weather out there, but I’m so ready for more fall :).

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Every so often I engage in online fan communities that interest me. It is an activity I enjoyed immensely when I was younger. I eventually became burned out or selective with communities due to the rise of incivility and general rudeness. More accurately, there have always been rude and uncivil people online, but my tolerance for them has decreased. Normally, I ignore these people since engaging them would be a waste of time. After all, I’m too old to get into vicious discussions online and I have better things to do with my free time.

Recently, I decided to engage with someone who struck me as pushy and somewhat rude. I didn’t know where the conversation would go, but this person didn’t seem to be completely close-minded. What resulted was a conversation with someone I didn’t completely agree with, but who gave me lots of ideas to consider. It was also interesting to consider talking to someone younger than myself, and seeing shades of myself when I was young and impatient. The ultimate outcome of our conversation was that we had a chance to discuss positive and negative ideas and theories. As someone who geeks out a lot, it is always fun to have a new discussion partner.

The real lesson I learned is that kindness online and even offline does go a long way. Had I been judgmental about a pushy attitude, I’m sure the conversation would have gone differently. I might even have made an enemy instead of a new acquaintance. Remember, when you approach someone, sometimes it’s worth approaching with kindness. You never know if that person may just be having a bad day or may feel misunderstood.

 

Have you ever reached out to someone who you perceived as rude? Has someone ever reached out to you on a bad day?

catscape-navigator-by-wabisabi2015-of-flickr

Catscape Navigator by Wabisabi2015 of Flickr

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