I heard a writer on a podcast say before he goes to bed, he turns all his devices on airplane mode so when he he gets up, he can spend the first hour of his day writing, undistracted. Because if you begin your day with a bunch of unnecessary input, it’s harder to then turn around and produce something creative. Which at the time sounded amazing in the way going to Bali or correctly pronouncing Budapest sounds amazing; these are things I want to do but probably won’t.
I have checked my phone roughly thirteen times and watched exactly three YouTube videos since sitting down to write. But technically, I wouldn’t classify two of the videos as a distraction because they were Oprah telling me how to live my best life. The third one was a cat putting its head in a box (and which I’ve already seen) so, fine. Airplane mode probably wouldn’t hurt.
A writer friend and I tried to commit ourselves to this practice back in January, enthusiastically calling it the CONE OF SILENCE, our use of all caps marking just how excited we were to write without distraction. We’d text each other before and after, gleefully recounting how many pages we burned through and congratulate each other because we were DOING IT. It was HAPPENING. CONE. OF. SILENCE.
This lasted less than a week.
We know our phones and the apps on them are designed to be addictive, to take over our brains and make us want to use them. All the time. The bros who made them even feel super bad about it now. But also it’s a little late; we’re all addicted. The average (Android) user touches their phone 2,617 times a day. And those are Android phones, so I’m only assuming 2,616 of those touches were to Google directions to the nearest Apple Store (sick burn, bruh).
That’s over 150 times an hour, if you take away the eight we’re supposed to be sleeping and I did the math correctly, which is a pretty big if. Given those numbers, it’s amazing we get anything done, ever.
When I hear myself lamenting how no one makes eye contact anymore or talks to the people directly in front of their faces, I realize I sound like the old man from Up. But also that guy made his house fly and learned to work through his grief without a single app. So.
I guess what I’m trying to say is when you think about touching your phone today, don’t. Go tie a balloon to your roof. Or talk to a Boy Scout. Or a stranger. Or your significant other, who is probably sitting directly next you, mindlessly scrolling through their phone and wondering when you’re going to notice their new haircut, because you haven’t even liked their insta yet and it’s been up for awhile and you’ve managed to like 18 posts from Doug the Pug before you’ve even watched their story? Rude.