October 23, 2013
I recently stumbled across this article on cultivating a more present mindset, and was immediately intrigued (and just the right amount of intimidated) by some of the habits that are suggested. Maybe it's my predisposal towards constant editing, or the fact that I'm still coming down from the high of a successful first Whole30, but the instant my monkey brain thinks something like, "Oh my, I could never give up ________!," my stubborn oldest-child Type-A Virgo brain answers, "WELL GUESS WHAT, NOW YOU'RE GOING TO, SO START DEALING WITH IT." Any previously unchecked dependence, once thrown into the light of day, can simply not go untested. (I promise I'm more chill in person.)
I decided to start with one habit: not keeping my phone in the bedroom. I've slid into the unfortunate habit of "poking" (our equally unfortunate word for checking Twitter / Instagram / Flipbook / the weather for periods of time) in bed before turning off my light for the night. And man, sometimes an hour will pass before I even realize it - and if pressed, I'd probably have trouble even remembering what information I had absorbed. That, friends, is not being present. That is mindless, melatonin-restricting information consumption. Even worse, I've been doing the same thing right when I wake up. I was telling myself that the light from the screen was helping my brain wake up, but it was subconsciously stressing me out to be checking my work email (and therefore thinking about what needed to be done that day, and therefore starting the workday) before I had even gotten up to pee or put on clothes! Tomfoolery.
Now, I keep my charger downstairs, in the kitchen. I plug my phone in before I go upstairs to bed each night, and now enjoy a bit of a book (or Micah, or lovely meditative nothingness) before turning off my light. When I wake up in the morning and eventually make it back downstairs, my phone is waiting for me next to my tiny French press and my newly-inflated sense of self-discipline. Not once have I missed an important phone call or text, and Instagram / Twitter / Flipbook / the weather is still waiting for me. I've also already noticed that I'm less attached to my phone throughout the day - because know I know I don't need it with me at all times. Take that, monkey brain!
Habits I'd love to build next?: not checking work email on nights or weekends (reading that hit a major pain point for me), and not checking blog stats.