During last 3 years all types of distractions were my good “friends”. Most of them were internet portals with news, with celebrities gossip, and scrolling FB a few times per day. I couldn’t start working before I read all news, all new posts on liked fan-pages etc. But the worse type of distractions using was when I was under time pressure, but in the same time I was afraid of result of my work, I was not confident enough, I was avoiding finishing it. I realised it strongly while an essay writing (to pass one course at the Polish Uni). I was so afraid of Professor’s judgement that I was doing everything to not finish that essay. I had been spending a few hours on FB. In some moment I asked myself why I was reading something on internet instead of finishing the essay and had free evening later… I understood that I was going into distractions because of some fears… I wasn’t able to face my fears and it was easier to just did something else than took the challenge. It had been shortly before “Self and time management” workshop. From that moment and after the workshop I tried to change it:

  • I decided to do not use internet in the morning, before work afternoon at home right after a work to be present, when I am with my husband
  • I decided to don’t use internet one hour before sleeping time
  • I decided to have days without internet at all (Sundays or Saturdays)
  • I decided to put away my phone during work time and not even look at it

Sometimes it was better, sometimes it was worse. The most important that I was trying to change something, and didn’t stay in the same place.

After 5 months I was back in my village-house (no more in the office), and I faced a challenge of a self-discipline at home-office. I was missing my friends, so I was chatting a lot, and FB schrolling was my daily-life again. In the first moment I was angry on myself, but then I realised that everyone could make mistakes. I think that more important is what you will do after you realise it.

I decided to be more forgiving for myself, and support myself in changes 🙂

I have started using Forest app – to be focused when I work. And maybe it sounds silly, but when I “plant a tree” it is easier to leave my phone for 1 hour or 1.5 hours, and be concentrated on a work. Even when I automatically and compulsively take my phone to do something instead of working, I think – “oh, I cannot do this, my tree is growing” 😉

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I also have started to use BreakFree app – to control how much time I spend on my smartphone. It really helps, especially when you run option of pop-up notifications after 10-15 minutes of using phone. Then you are aware that your “smartphone time” is over for now 😉 and it also helps to analyse on which apps you spend most of your time.

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I also installed on my web-browser one extension to block websites and redirect for another website (I cannot find the name now, because it was removed from my browser when I reinstalled software). The extension blocked FB and redirected me to https://www.ted.com/. The idea was to teach myself that I could do something better than just scrolling FB when I had free time, or when I didn’t want to work. I also started learning Spanish or German in moments when I normally scrolled FB, even if it was 5-10-15 minutes. The most important was to change old habits into more developing behaviours.

Once I watched this video: “Try something new for 30 days with Matt Cutts”

And I decided to do “30 days challenge” and stop using FB for 30 days, just like that. It was easier than I was thinking – maybe because I had been training “days without FB” before. During 30 days I realised that I can live without FB and FB can lives without me. And also that real life, and real conversations with people are more interesting, than only posting on FB. When I wanted to share something with my Friends or colleagues, I did it by a messaging app, and then we could talk about that etc., not only gave a “like”.

What was/is after 30 days? I don’t use FB so extensively as before, but I still use it compulsively when I am stressed, but after few minutes I realise that scrolling FB doesn’t help me to finish my tasks. That is why, probably when I start my writing I will disappear from FB for next 11 months. Because, to be honest, it is easier for me to make a commitment with myself and stop using FB for a few months, than fight with myself every time when I feel stressed. And for sure during PhD thesis writing there can be ups and downs.

Of course – mechanical and technical blocking of distractions is not enough, when behind them are some psychological reasons. It is good to realise in which moments we use them, and ask oneself – why do I do this? Working with a reason, as in my case – being afraid of judgement, want to be perfect, lack of permission for mistakes – can make an effect of our changes process more stable and sustained.

As my Sister always says – “Consciousness is a first step to healing”

In this case – to changes. If we don’t know that we do something and why we do something, we cannot change it.

 

Useful links:

www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days?language=en – “Try something new for 30 days with Matt Cutts”

http://www.forestapp.cc/ – Forest app website

http://www.breakfree-app.com/ – BreakFree app website

https://www.ted.com/ – TED Ideas worth spreading website

http://ed.ted.com/ – TED Ed Lessons worth sharing