Have as much deliberate fun as you want!
Believe it or not, up until early this year, I never owned a proper smartphone. throughout my whole teenage years, my parents only bought me those small Nokia phones with no internet.
the difference between me and friends with "strict" parents, is that I had my own computer to use as much as I wanted.
this —in my opinion— gave me the best of both worlds. it gave me access to learn from the internet. while also not getting addicted to useless internet videos.
I also saw the rise of TikTok from a sort of "outsider's point of view" since the application is mostly centered around mobile usage
I saw family members and friends getting addicted and over time noticed their attention span decreasing while watching movies together, scary stuff!
This year, due to work, I inevitably had to get a smartphone. I picked an older generation Samsung phone with a relatively small screen. I am not going to claim that this came without it's benefits:
- first of all, I could finally take notes when I am out and about. which as someone big on note-taking/zettelkasten was a massive upgrade from.. keeping things in my brain.
- I can also text, very basic I know, but as you can imagine no one in my social circle was using good ol' SMS and before my smartphone era, my only option was to call them. yet another point for smartphones.
despite my efforts to stay out of the loop, I inevitably got on track with the rest of the world and started consuming short-form content. even though I always actively refuse to install TikTok, YouTube's introduction of shorts™ was the start of my addiction.
a few months ago, I started noticing that my addiction was growing. of course it was nowhere near what kids spend these days on average, but it was still concerning to me and I knew I had to do something about it.
and so I came up with a plan, a productivity law you might say:
You can spend as much time as you want having fun, as long as it is deliberate fun.
so what exactly is deliberate fun? it's the type of fun where you concisely decide to do it, not because of habit or addiction, and certainly not doom scrolling on twitter (X?).
here are some examples of deliberate fun, some of which I don't practice but you might enjoy:
- Playing video games (preferably offline, online games tend to get addicting very quickly)
- Watching movies.
- Playing the Guitar, or whatever instrument you play.
- hiking, if that's what you fancy.
- Reading books that you actually enjoy
a question that might pop up is: "Well, won't I get addicted to these instead?" and the answer — again, in my experience — is no.
I just never found myself playing games for more than 2 hours at a time, same for reading. and even if I spent the same amount of time doing deliberate fun, compared to mindless scrolling, deliberate fun always seems like a better option.
something you may notice if you decide to implement this into your life is that commitment to deliberate fun is hard, very hard.
the reason is that when you are about to start scrolling on Twitter, you don't see exactly the amount of time that you'll spend there, instead time will pass by without you noticing, this is not the case when watching a movie.
in your mind, spending 2 hours watching a movie might be an insane idea, “imagine all the productive things I could be doing now” you might say, but when scrolling through twitter, you only realise that you spent a lot of time after the fact.
to combat that here are some solutions I came up with:
- make it easier to get started: if your guitar is above the closet, put it next to your office table. Have books at arm's reach in every room of the house, so you can pick up one when you are bored in the toilet.
- conversely, make it harder to reach your cellphone: when you come home from work, turn off your phone, and put it away, you can still check up on messages from your computer.
- Actually apply the rule: there is a reason I said as much time as you want above, it's to remove the self shaming that you might go through if you want to block-out time for deliberate fun.
and that's about it, I hope you learned something and I'll see you next time!
if you've enjoyed this article,consider buying me a coffee. currently I am saving up for a better microphone!