How I Cured My Mobile Addiction & Started Learning a New Skill Every Month
Since you have voluntarily clicked on this blog, I believe you are addicted to your mobile too and the important part, you know you are addicted to it.
Well, these mobile phones and several applications we use in our day-to-day lives are designed after a careful analysis of human psychology so that they can create features that keep us hooked and trapped. Worst of all, we are so addicted to this mobile phone and social media that even when we know we are trapped and want to come out of it, it is becoming impossible for us as if a part of our brain is hijacked.
A month back, I was standing right where you are standing right now. After waking up, and taking bath, the first task of my day was to scroll social media with a cup of coffee for hours (till my eyes scream, ‘I am on fire’)
I happened to check my screen time a month back and shockingly it was 6 hours. I was in awe and a heart attack was on its way. You might be thinking it sounds overdramatic, right?
Well, here is the thing.
I consider myself a minimalist who wants to live a slow life that involves enjoying every second of my life, romanticizing my life each day, working on my goals, and becoming the best version of myself.
But after seeing my screen time and opening the gate of reality, I realized that although I have read 100+ self-help books and surely, I want to be successful and happy yet I am not doing my best to make my dreams come true. I am just in love with the idea of improving my life and seeing people on social media who have improved theirs just gives a boost to my mind-made castle.
I sat back, closed my eyes, and found myself horrified by my routine. I sleep almost 9 hours a day which means I was left with 15 hours in a day. Subtracting my eating time, shit time (where I take my phone), overthinking time, bathing time, and reading time, I had 10 hours in a day. And guess what? I was wasting 6 hours on social media which left me with only 4 hours in a day to work on my goals. Now, how was I supposed to work like a winner when all my mental energy is drained with the excessive use of social media and how was I supposed to find joy in my work when my brain gets dopamine from watching Instagram reels, endless YouTube videos and majority of the time watching FRIENDS series for the fifth time in a single year.
Here Is How I Freed Myself from the Cage of Social Media Addiction:
1. Know Your Current Situation:
Just as I shared, I was spending more than 6 hours in a day on my mobile, similarly, you have to find out how much time in a day are you spending on your mobile phone. And that’s not enough, you should analyze how much time you are devoting to each social media site. There are plenty of social media applications like Instagram (my guilty place), Twitter, Pinterest, Netflix (I consider it as a social application too), and the like.
Once, you know how much time you spend on your phone and which application is taking the most of your time. It’s time to sit and think, why is it that one social media site is your default place?
For example, in my case, I used to open Instagram after every 15 minutes just to see the updates there and mindlessly scroll through reels.
2. Hide The Evil:
‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is one of the most popular quotes that has helped me in curing my addiction to social media to some extent. Our brain is a lazy ass that can be trained in the way you want.
Now, there are two things:
a) Hide those applications where you spend the majority of your time so that when it is out of sight, it is out of mind. James Clear says in his book, Atomic Habits that if you want to eliminate a bad habit, just remove what triggers a bad habit. It’s exactly what I want you to do. (If you don’t know how to hide apps, YouTube it)
b) The more steps involved in doing a particular task, the less your lazy brain would want to do it. In my case, I not only hid the Instagram and Netflix but also logged out of my account so that every time I want to use it, there are two extra steps, first to remove it from the hidden place then log in my details every single time.
3. Keep The Child Entertained:
Consider your mobile phone the mother and your brain the child. I know it’s a weird example but here is the logic behind it:
Your brain releases dopamine in any activity you do. Some activities like scrolling through social media, watching movies, and eating junk release more dopamine than reading a page from your school book. That’s the reason why you fall back to your addictions even when you don’t want to.
Now, just as you have to keep a child entertained so she doesn’t remember her mother, you have to keep your brain entertained so that it doesn’t remember her mobile phone. I mean let’s accept that watching stupid Instagram reels is way more fun than sitting down to learn something new, isn’t it?
Personal observation: Even when I tried my best to eliminate using Instagram, I couldn’t let go of my phone. I was picking it up every few minutes either to scroll my gallery or for online window shopping. That’s when I realized that I need something equally entertaining to keep my brain busy.
That’s when I came up with the idea of learning one skill every month. And that’s exactly what I am asking you to do here.
Now, why only a month and not 2 months or learning without any deadlines?
Here is a simple fact about us: When there is no deadline, there is no challenge hence, our brain keeps delaying the task and considers it not important enough.
However, when you challenge your brain to learn something within a particular period, it rings the bell and the brain keeps thinking about it, hence, the task stays on top of the priority list.
That’s when I challenged myself to learn Calligraphy. I am seriously the laziest person you will ever meet yet I was able to learn Calligraphy in 30 days. I didn’t become an expert obviously, but it was something that I wanted to learn for the past 5 years. Can you imagine that? I wasted 6 hours for 5 years using a mobile phone but didn’t learn one thing that my heart truly desired until now.
Learning Calligraphy was challenging as I am a little old-school type of person who needs a physical teacher yet I stepped out of my comfort zone and after 5 days of ‘JUST’ watching videos on YouTube, I finally took the sketchbook and pen in my hand to practice it for 10 minutes in a day. The 10 minutes transformed into 30 minutes in no time. And as I was learning something that I wanted with a strict deadline and no pressure of perfectionism, my brain was enjoying the process and hence, I was able to get rid of my habit of touching my phone repetitively.
You have only a few days here on earth. These few days may seem like years yet if you look back in time, you will realize how you wasted so much time because of a stupid gadget that is taking over you.
I hope this article helps you in reducing screen time, increasing green time, and learning a skill that you always wanted.