Have you ever took some time to stop and look at what was going on in your mind?
In these modern days, our thoughts keep moving from one topic to another in a frantic way with our always-connected-always-available life - just like a monkey would do on a tree. Seeking distractions and pleasant experiences for the senses, the animal inside our heads consumes a considerable amount of energy in its nonsense quest. It needs to satisfy the hunger for sensorial stimulation, and technology provides a wide variety of toys to play with.
Feeding the Crazy Ape
There is a wide variety of products and services that can provide the necessary ingredients for fulfilling the necessity of being distracted by sensations. Streaming services like Youtube and Netflix, for example, were engineered to make binge-watching sound natural. Social networks offer an infinite feed of information that can keep anyone distracted for hours. Companies also design products so that they are so comfortable and enjoyable to use; we can not help ourselves in not overusing them. Smartphones have become our monkey's favorite toy.
What can we do to calm the monkey?
Despite all the mess, It is still possible to tame the monkey and take back control of your mind. And you don't even have to ditch your phone. There is no one-rule fits-it-all here, and every case is unique. But I hope that the following tips are useful to calm your monkey.
Remove Or Cut Down Notifications
Notifications are one of the most distractive forces created by technology. Every time you switch your focus to your smartphone because it beeps, it takes time for your brain to recover your concentration on the previous task. I recommend evaluating each notification and thinking about how important it is for you and if it is worth being interrupted by it. You will be surprised by how unnecessary they are most of the time. Disable them, and you will thank yourself later.
Keep Your Phone Away From Your Sacred Moments
Everyone needs to get good sleep, eat healthily, and exercise regularly. These activities require focus and dedication. Studies show that merely having your smartphone around and visible to you is sufficient to reduce your concentration skills. Hence, I recommend that you create a golden rule for yourself or your family: keep your smartphone away from rooms linked to these activities when they are happening. It will give you the chance to go deeper into your workout session, enjoy dinner with your family, and that decent night of sleep you deserve.
Access Social Media Only On Your PC (Or Quit Using Them)
Let's be honest. Social media is not the best way to connect to people. I mean, if you want real relationships, the only way is to meet people face-to-face. But if you have a better reason not to let go of social media, I suggest you access only using your computer, never on your phone. Smartphones are always an easy way to lose control of your time and stay hooked sitting for hours.
Schedule Your Device to Enter "Do Not Disturb" Mode
There is a stupid rule of thumb nowadays that says we have no right to be unavailable. Unless you are a robot or do not mind having any privacy whatsoever, following this rule is a recipe for neurosis. So, please, do yourself a favor and learn how to use the "Do not Disturb" feature of your smartphone.
Keep Games Out of Your Mobile Device
Games are fun! Some are even clever and educational. But I still think you should keep them out of mobile devices, leaving the fun to game consoles and computers. It's much easier to control how much you are playing because you are creating a contextual separation in your mind between "time to play videogames" and "time using my phone." Moreover, you can even save some bucks not having to buy that fancy smartphone because you will not be gaming there, which means you might not need that super high-end config, and an intermediate one might be just fine.
Life is much more interesting without the crazy monkey inside your head, distracting and disconnecting you from your self and the world around you. So we need to stop the monkey inside our mind from draining our energy. Even though it's a daunting task, it's entirely attainable, and there is nothing wrong with asking for professional help when we find ourselves in trouble.