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Struggling with Phone Addiction? Try This

Let’s be real: Unless you’re using your phone to listen to the Growth Mindset University podcast, you’re wasting your time. I kid, I kid. On a serious note, while some of the time spent on our phones can be productive, much of it is a tragic waste of time. I’d consider many of my LinkedIn […]

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Let’s be real: Unless you’re using your phone to listen to the Growth Mindset University podcast, you’re wasting your time.

I kid, I kid.

On a serious note, while some of the time spent on our phones can be productive, much of it is a tragic waste of time.

I’d consider many of my LinkedIn posts, especially the ones about my podcast, relatively productive. After all, I put in so much time and energy to reach out to the guests and prepare for the interview, so why wouldn’t I share it with my audience?

Fine. I make a post. Then what?

Well, I watch the likes, comments, and messages roll in, replying to every comment and message as soon as I see it. Then I go to Twitter, then Instagram, then Facebook, then email, then back to LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram… OH, LET ME SEE WHO VIEWED MY STORY… Facebook, email, and on and on in a hellish loop.

Approximately 10% of the time I spend on my phone is necessary. The other 90%? A bigger waste of time than college (and that’s saying something).

So, what to do…

There’s this guy named Naval Ravikant (future guest?) who is the CEO of AngelList and seems to have the answer for everything under the sun. I always trust his input. If he told me to jump off a cliff, I might just do it. He is incredibly wise and enlightened, though he insists he is not. He is shockingly humble for someone worth billions of dollars and extremely eloquent in the way he conveys ideas, as evidenced by some of his quotes:

  • “Signaling virtue is a vice.”
  • “Retirement starts when you stop sacrificing today for some imaginary tomorrow. You retire by saving up enough money, becoming a monk, or by finding work that feels like play to you.”

  • “You want to be rich and anonymous, not poor and famous.”

After months of struggling with phone addiction, wasting copious amounts of time and getting more fed up by the day, I had one of my best ideas ever: I’ll just ask Naval. See exhibit A below:

Yes! It would only be a matter of hours, maybe even minutes before I solved my problem! Even my friend Jeremy Miller was eager to hear the answer. For a few hours, it seemed like my entire life depended on Naval’s response.

I knew Naval was going to hit us with something we had never heard before that would change the way we live. He is so well-rounded in every area of his life, he must have this phone addiction thing figured out.

We waited.

We got a response:

“Honestly, I need a Twitter detox,” he said.

Damn. Not even Naval had the answer. I couldn’t believe that someone as strong-minded as him struggles with the same addiction many of us struggle with.

What to do…

There I was, back at square one. In the spirit of Dr. Seuss, I thought left and thought right and thought low and thought high. Oh, the thoughts I can think up if only I try!

Well, I tried, and I got somewhere.

Something came to my mind that I had deliberated doing for months but hoped (hope is not a strategy, however) that I would never have to do this.

I took both my phones (yes, two, the iPhone XS Max that Dennis Yu got for me and my old iPhone 6S) and locked them in the glove box of my car.

I walked back up to my apartment, locked myself out of the internet on my computer for four hours with Leechblock, and was left with me, myself, my books, and a few online course sites I still had access to.

What is one to do without social media and hardly any internet access?

Read, write, learn, and enjoy the world I say!

Believe it or not, you adapt to your new environment without a phone.

The uninterrupted solitude was refreshing, my productivity was pulsing, and the freedom of no longer being chained to my phone was exhilarating.

I read Kamal Ravikant’s (Naval’s brother, future guest?) small 55-page book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, I read more of Mark Manson’s (episode 99) Everything Is F*cked, a bit of Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans, meditated, and progressed through two of Mark Manson’s courses: The Blogging & Writing course and the Dating & Relationships course (fascinating to hear the psychology of relationships, by the way).

That was yesterday.

Today, I read more of Mark Manson’s Everything Is Fucked, started reading his first book, Models: Attract Women Through Honesty (judge me for caring about the quality of my relationships, I don’t give a f*ck), went through more of the same courses, and then sat down to write for a few hours.

Oh, what fun!

I can feel my brain changing and it’s only been two days.

FAQ

Q: How long do you keep your phone in the car?

A: Yesterday was 2:45 PM to 8:15 PM. Today it was 1 PM to 7 PM. I plan on starting earlier and going longer as time goes on.

Q: What if there is an emergency and someone needs to reach me?

A: Many of our “emergencies” are actually false emergencies that somehow magically disappear if we do not tend to them right away. It really is magic. Or, perhaps, it is someone hitting the panic button and coming to you to solve the problem. What ends up happening, if you have boundaries and don’t answer it right away, is the “emergency” disappears.



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