why we can’t tune out

Or rather, why I can’t tune out.

I, like many people in my generation, have a severe addiction to being plugged in. The proliferation of smartphones has made it so that our screens are with us wherever we go. Many people have reported and written about this kind of lifestyle. This one talks about our smartphone dependence as if it were the adult equivalent of our teddy bears, keeping us safe and connected to something, acting as our security blanket throughout the day. A quick Google search yielded me this much:

Capture

People all over have written about why you can’t put it down, and what you can do to tune out. But for me, it’s just something I can’t do just yet.

You all know I work long hours, and every day, I wake up anywhere between 5:30 am to 8:30am. Usually, I’m late if I woke up at around the latter. I take at least an hour and a half just to wake up and take a shower, then another hour, or hour and a half, to get to work. The whole time, I am on my phone. I’m barely doing anything – just passive reading, looking at stupid shit like memes, foreign news, local news that just gets me angry, and snippets from the lives of people I barely know on social media. Sometimes, I read DnD campaigns, but most times the former usually happens. And I know this. None of the information I look at during the morning is going to stick and none of those add value to my life. But it’s a better alternative than being left alone with your thoughts, right?

I get to the office and turn on another screen, this time for work. But don’t worry, I have two more screens: a phablet and my company phone. The company phone is for communication, it has my Telegram, my Messenger, my social media apps. The phablet is for Viber for my family, and a game I’m playing. These three screens are all on at the same time, and I pay attention to each one of them, passively or otherwise. It slows work down, but it happens anyway.

Same thing when I go home, I have my two screens on. The phablet is streaming videos, and my company phone responds to texts while I watch gameplay videos on YouTube. The trip takes another 1:30h, and when I get home, I take a shower, with the phablet still streaming and propped up while I lather myself up. I go to bed, still watching stupid shit, right until I fall asleep.

Reading that again kind of scared me. I realized that I’m facing a screen 90% of the time while awake. The only reason I’m not connected is because I’m sleeping, or I’m in a meeting, which happens rarely. What the fuck?

I’m addicted, I guess, to the stimulation. It’s really bad for me to have too much stimuli at any given point in the day because it aggravates my already shitty attention deficiency. I get very little work done. There’s also the problem of multiple notifications on social media that I just have  to check out. The problem with that is, even though most times the notifications don’t involve me, I end up scrolling my news feed for stupid content that won’t even stick, and then suddenly it’s been 30 minutes later and I didn’t get to do anything productive.

Here’s my gameplan though:

  1. Turn off all notifactions from mobile, except for messenger apps.
  2. Set a time in the day where I’ll use Facebook (and Twitter) during the weekdays, unless I need to schedule something for my accounts.
  3. Reward myself for every successful closing of social media tabs with… idk a snack maybe and then I’ll get fat and ugly and stay off social media entirely

Not a very concrete or comprehensive plan, but that’s all I have right now. Who knows, it might end up working.

Here’s to hoping.

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