Today at midnight, I nuked all of my favorite websites: reddit, facebook, buzzfeed, to name a few. By “nuked” I mean that I used a FANTASTIC Google Chrome extension called StayFocusd, and I blocked all access to every website that sponges off of my time and productivity for the next 168 hours. That’s 7 days, if you misplaced your calculator. I didn’t stop there. Nope, I had my sister put in her own pass-code on my phone to restrict my access to Instagram, Twitter, even my phone’s web browser. Oh yes, I went all out. I did the same thing on my tablet. Sigh. Now that I am effectively cut off from all social networking, I’ll have some time to think.
What my browser looks like when I try to access a restricted site.
What’s the first thing I did?
Well, the first thing I did was try to access facebook from my phone about 20 times. Not because I have no willpower, but because it was a compulsion. I saw the purple, flashing light telling me I had a text message, I checked it, closed the message and immediately clicked on my browser. Just like that. No malice, no thought afore. I checked it like I was breathing or blinking. It was automatic. After I realized what I was doing, I was a bit disgusted with myself. It had only been a half an hour and I tried to check facebook 20 times. It was an eye opener. With a heavy heart, I consciously reminded myself not to do it every time I picked up my phone.
What did I do next?
Well, next I looked at my computer, dumbfounded. What was it’s purpose now? I kicked myself for not checking the front page of /r/ShitRedditSays before I clicked the button that so affectionately says “Nuke Em!”. So, I watched cartoons for a bit. And then, something incredible happened: I picked up my tablet and I started reading a book. Granted, it’s a book I’ve read before (Fight Club), but I was reading. I wasn’t just reading, no, I was consumed. I actually zoned out while reading a book. I haven’t had that happen since I read The Hunger Games trilogy while I was on deployment.
So what came after that?
After that, I felt incredible. I felt I could do anything. I feel that I can do anything. I read some more. And then, I thought, “I might as well live dangerously”, so I MEDITATED. I sat in silence for TEN WHOLE MINUTES! WHAAAAAT?! Who was I? What have I done with myself? I don’t remember the last time I just sat in silence with no electronics to help stave off boredom. For 10 minutes, I wrestled my “monkey mind” from branch to branch, tree to tree, until it was time to return to consciousness.
Things I did for the rest of the day
- Read some more
- Spent more time with my son
- wrote this blog post
- drank some chamomile tea
- listened to music WITHOUT mentioning it on twitter
- and I just let myself be
How I feel about the week ahead
I feel very confident. I wasn’t so sure about this no social networking thing. It seemed radical to me. How would I go 7 whole days not knowing what my friends had for lunch? How would I go 7 days without telling everyone what I had for lunch? But I made it the first 24 hours. I only nuked those sites for 7 days, but I’m hoping to transform this into a month long journey.