Hello! Welcome to the Bored & Brilliant challenge Silver Sky Press style! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ll want to catch up HERE. Last post I introduced Manoush Zomorodi’s galvanizing book and challenge. As promised I’m back with a report on challenge 1 and motivation for challenges 2-7.
Challenge 1 was a simple observation. I tracked my digital usage with the Moment app and the results were fairly mild. My daily average: 10 pickups and about an hour of time. Not so bad compared to my family and friends, a few of whom spent nearly 3 hours a day and had over 40 pickups!
The reaction amongst my cohort ranged from Yeesh, I need to pick up that darn device less! to Meh, who cares how much life I waste? The second response came from my teenage baby sis. Everyone agreed that merely tracking their usage with a sneaky app made them more aware and more likely to fight the itch to check their phone at every spare moment.
“Boredom is telling you that this is a moment for your imagination, for your creativity, for your identity. Boredom is telling you to pay attention to the world.” -Sheryl Turkle
The friends and family I’ve cajoled into this challenge have stopped seeing boredom as a waste of time. They’re open to the possibility that a little more unplugging may be good for their brains. Most think at the very least they’ll be sleeping better. They’ve started working through challenges 2-7 at their own pace, agreeing to give each challenge 1-3 days.
I think the challenges have the potential to be a powerful experience, especially for creative writer types like us. As I work through the challenges, I’m learning a lot about myself. Deep inhale…I’m a Pinterest addict. Since giving birth to a tiny human 17 months ago I’ve spent more time pinteresting drawing inspiration and reference than actually drawing. Which is why the Gypsy Cats webcomic that I’ve been promising you guys is MIA, or rather DOA.
Since beginning the Bored & Brilliant challenge I’ve deleted every time-wasting app and turned off all social media related notifications. This has necessitated a more intentional use of my phone and thus a more intentional use of my free time. I’m being strict with myself: no phone/internet fun times during work hours, digital free time every evening and morning, and a 15-minute time limit on my daily digital binge session.
These self-inflicted rules don’t feel like a punishment. As the old saying goes: There is great freedom within boundaries. And you know what? For the first time in months, I’ve made some progress on my webcomic dreams!
Not only have I found time to create, I’ve found time to think. Seemingly out of the blue I’ve figured out solutions to a few of the gaping plot holes that have plagued my manuscript.
I haven’t given up social media. I’m not turning into a Luddite. But I am embracing a slower pace of life, technological freedom, and a healthy amount of boredom.
If you’re not up for the gauntlet of seven challenges here’s a quick n’ dirty tip that will get you using your phone less and enjoying a few free moments of thought, and possibly a golden, brilliant feeling of boredom.
Keep your phone stashed away and off your body
According to the original Bored and Brilliant sample group, people who kept their phones stashed away and off their bodies, e.g. in a bag or desk drawer, averaged eighteen fewer minutes of general usage and eleven fewer pickups per day!
Have you read Bored and Brilliant and/or tried challenges? What did you learn about yourself?
In case you missed it, here’s a rundown of the challenges:
The Bored & Brilliant Seven-Step Program
CHALLENGE ONE: Observe Yourself
Track your digital habits – notice and understand your baseline behavior form the moment you wake until you go to sleep by downloading the Moment app (Apple) or the Break-Free app (Android).
CHALLENGE TWO: Keep Your Devices Off and Out of Reach While in Motion
Keep your phone out of sight while in transit – no walking and texting. But it’s not just texting, the challenge includes all tech off during transit, meaning no radio during your commute. What happens when you switch it all off and just let your mind wander?
CHALLENGE THREE: Photo-Free
No pics of food, kittens, kids – nada. See your world through your eyes, not your screen. This is a digital-image detox so avoid all photo proliferation – you can check out images on social media but don’t like or retweet. Just take a long hard look…reclaim the art of taking a ‘mental picture’.
CHALLENGE FOUR: Delete That App
Take the one app you can’t live without and trash it. Life after Snapchat, anyone? If you’re a game addict, it’s time to let go of Candy Crush, Two Dots, or Clash of Clans. You will lose your level, but you will reclaim your life. It might be the Weather app or Wikipedia, but if you have a smartphone then you have one app that rules them all. Don’t worry, it’s not forever, when the challenge is over you’ll be free to re-install.
CHALLENGE FIVE: Take a Fakecation
A vacation in the form of a break from the digital onslaught that exhausts, distracts, and keeps us from thinking beyond the everyday. The human brain needs solitude in order to focus and really think up new and interesting ideas. This challenge is about being in the office but out of touch, if only for an hour.
CHALLENGE SIX: Observe Something Else
Reclaim the art of noticing. Now that you’ve freed up some attention in the earlier challenges you can train it on the little offline wonders all around you. Go solo somewhere public and hang out for awhile. Watch people, birds, or anything that strikes you. Pause and imagine what a single person is thinking and zoom in on an un-inventable detail. Make a series of small observations you may have missed if your nose were glued to a screen.
CHALLENGE SEVEN: The Bored & Brilliant Challenge
In a culmination of all the exercises, you’ll use your new powers of boredom to make sense of your life and set goals.
If you would like advice on how to implement these challenges, send me a message.
Peace & Love,