It’s a holy miracle that I haven’t dropped my phone in the toilet yet.
I pull the thing out (the phone) as soon as I go in the bathroom. To urinate.
That’s maybe a minute of screen time at most.
Yet, I can’t take that much silent time.
My brain, and probably a lot of yours, has lost the ability to just…………………..sit.
I’m not talking about meditation. That’s an exercise, to me at least.
I’m talking about letting your mind take time out just to wander, without worry or guilt, and without fear of missing out on something.
I’m trying to learn how to be bored again.
“How to Focus”
10 years ago “how to focus” was a medium-volume search term on Google. The phrase has had a steady climb since then, and is now a heavily searched phrase.
From the moment we wake up until we’re back in bed to sleep (after checking this one last thing on the phone for just little bit), we’re endlessly feeding ourselves information and noise.
And our brains have followed suit. It’s hard not to be distracted when we’ve got supercomputers in our pockets. But now some studies say we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish.
Articles are shorter now, and even our short articles have bullet points to highlight what’s in the short articles.
Even worse, a lot of us would rather hang out with our phones than our own families.
Been to a playground recently? Playgrounds have become a safe place to play on our phones, because the child is otherwise occupied and can’t disrupt us. That’s good parenting!
The typical text message is read within three minutes.
That little “ding!” is like the modern church bell.
Sometimes we even like to read what people say about what someone else had to say about it. That’s what you’re doing right this very second!
For me, focus is essential. I write, and good writing requires deep, lengthy sessions of concentration and flow.
Whatever you do, you could probably benefit from greater focus as well. Just a hunch.
I think meditation is helpful for this, but I think boredom is also a cure. Both can help you be more mindful.
Yeah. Good old fashioned nothing.
Newport contends that boredom is an exercise for concentration.
My plan for boredom
Start with five minutes a day with no electronics or outside stimulus.
I’ve got a nice little patio in my backyard. Just sittin’ and hanging out worked for my grandparents on summer nights. It’ll work for me too, probably.
My hypothesis is that my brain will reward me. That over time I’ll care less about what’s happening in the rest of the world and think about what’s happening and where I am right now.
And yeah, I’ll devote the thirty seconds of urination to just hanging out.