“Who’s In Control, You or the Phone?”

Do you remember a time when it wasn’t a sin to not be available at every waking moment of your life? Way back when somebody had to visit you if they had something urgent to tell you; yeah those days remember?….well I don’t.

See I was born into an era where my attention is damn near a product in itself, a product with such a high demand rate that I could probably sell it and make a decent living.

The number one bidder for all attention is the little master we are often seen holding in one hand, and thumb massaging with the other ( not that one you dirty little rascal); I’m talking about the little guy that stopped you from going to bed at a reasonable time last night, because he had 37 more memes to show you before shut-eye. This “little guy” is someone I’d like to call iMaster, or iMassa for anybody over 70  years of age.

Scroll-Away-Time: Let’s be real, nobody feels good about themselves after spending two hours scrolling through random pictures, videos, and irrelevant tweets; I mean sure in the moment you might feel a rush, but as soon as you close the app you feel like crap.

Though we may see this scroll time as a free form of entertainment, there is a real cost attached to the free services we “enjoy” so much; such costs would include guilt, and regret that spawn from the purging of our precious time.

Most of us do not realize how much of our time we actually spend on this little “Ruler of the Modern World”. Personally I know I’ve had one too many moments in which I wanted to take some time to simply sit there, and day-dream; I mean literally do nothing but bask in my own thoughts. 37 seconds into my mental mediation I begin to think about who might have liked my new video, and how I really hope bae saw that picture of my abs I posted on my Instagram story; a minute goes by, and I reach for my master.

The 30 minutes that I was supposed to spend re-energizing my batteries I ended up spending on draining myself even further. Those 15 minutes now belonged to mind numbing entertainment, and advertiser’s world wide….you’re welcome Pepsi.

The i in iMaster: One of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is to spend time with you; it can help you find resolutions for those things that have been bothering you for ages, as well as give you creative insights that you would not have received while distracted. Yet in this day and age “me time” has been given a false companion, which in reality is a true mortal enemy…the iMaster (it is the joker to our batman).

I’m not a person who believes that we are victim’s to these droids since we are the ones who chose to purchase, and use them. I do however believe that most of these little robots can be as addicting as any hard drug on the streets. The only difference between the iMaster, and crack-cocaine is that crack doesn’t have a billion willing users, and all day accessibility.

This is not a demonization of a product or service as much as it is insight on just how much of our personal growth can be directly hindered by the lack of control we have over this little machine, a machine that often ends up controlling us.

I have been through phases in which I had zero control over my scroll time, and every task was accompanied by a half-baked effort due to my divided attention. I would try to read a book, but every half page I felt a need to check in with my master; or I would try to write some of my earlier blog work( none published, you’re welcome ), but for some reason I just could not focus on the task at hand.

After months of a deep frustration I came into realization that If I wanted to do the things that helped me grow, and gave me fulfillment, I had to learn to control the tool instead of letting it control me.

The reality of the situation is that the same device you use to waste hours of your life away can also be the same thing that motivates you into self-development; therefore I cannot blame it all on the tool for the user must be aware of its potential powers, both good and bad.

Your Defense: There is no better known way of conquering a distraction than to simply get rid of it. It’s like that one time you were trying to give up those cream filled Ho Ho’s, you know the one’s you kept at eye level in your pantry? How much did it help you to quit knowing their location, and how accessible they were at any given time?…I’ll wait.

When you chose to truly give them up you did the most logical, yet emotionally charged thing you could ever do; you threw them out (crying face emoji). As they say out of sight out of mind right.

Now granted, I am not saying that you must throw out your $700 device completely,  in fact if you are thinking of doing this directly message me and I’ll send you an address you could send it too. Seriously though, DON’T THROW IT OUT!. Instead you can take away its strength by disabling it’s most potent powers, its apps.

I mean when you think about what it is that truly grabs your attention, and sucks away your time; I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the maps or the calculator. Where the true power of the iMaster lays is within its (non-rewarding) utilities; unless you find thumbs up on a picture as rewarding, in that case your probably on the wrong site. I’m sure they have an iMaster shrine somewhere on the web.

If you only had your workout, diet, budgeting, ebooks, school, and map apps I am positive that you would spend a third of the time scrolling that you do now, and almost all of your time will be directed towards something that will help you feel better about yourself.

Once you actually feel the deep desire to reclaim your time,  this will seem like a small sacrifices with huge benefits. You will be surprised at how much faster you finish that book that’s been taking you eons to get through, or how many more heartfelt interactions you will have with actual human beings (open mouth emoji).

If you dull the blade of a knife, it will no long have the ability to cut you, so think of the useless app minimization as a dulling of the weapon; and believe me it is a weapon…the most dangerous of all weapons, due to its ability to kill time.

– Tinashe Hwande

 

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