Last year, I was not using a smart phone. However, I wanted to get a feel of mobile applications and hence installed an Android simulator on my laptop. Using the simulator, I could run and experience many apps including social media apps like WhatsApp and FB.
I was already on social media but WhatsApp was a different feel. Initially, there were only occasional one-to-one conversations. My WhatsApp chat space remained by and large a silent room. Gradually, some closed groups (like those operated by my school friends, former colleagues and relatives) added me into their respective groups. Once I got into the crowd, WhatsApp was no longer the same silent chat space that used to be. Cacophony started invading my mind-space. Likewise, I also spent a lot of time in FB, which kept dumping heaps of social content that were sensational but made no sense either to my life or business goals. For a long time, I managed to carefully wade through the social din.
But gradually and unconsciously, I let myself to be dragged into the quicksand. Soon, I got myself chest-deep into the conversational mud, consuming meaningless posts, forwards and AV media. I also started acting like one of the clan, forwarding whatever I felt as interesting or useful, to whoever I felt would benefit from those forwards. In fact, by shouting over the noise into which I had drowned unconsciously, I behaved like an irresponsible member of a society that acted without a purpose, direction or focus.
Consequently, I wasted quite a lot of my precious time, energy and professional credibility. On and off, I also got into unplanned interactive one-to-one chats (some short, some very long) with some friends, throwing all my work and other responsibilities to abject neglect. I was morphing into an uncharacteristic clone of myself.
At the same time, challenges were mounting on the personal as well as business front. Suddenly I started sensing this pattern on all aspects of life, viz., personal health, family health, finances, children’s education, business operations, household breakdowns and others. With limited waking time on hand each day, after allocating for business, fitness and family care, I was finding it impossible to attend to these challenges and urgent projects. With age on the wrong side of 50, life was only becoming tougher than ever day-by-day.
Given this state of life, by lending physical time and emotional space for long sessions of chats and unproductive social conversations, I was forfeiting whatever little time I had in a day.
As the year-end of 2017 approached, it somehow injected a deep sense of fear. Looking at the year gone by, I felt deeply remorseful for being too cavalier about my goal, time, energy, intent and actions (or rather non-actions). I admitted to myself that I was essentially ruining my life for no material or spiritual progress and was setting myself up for a sure-shot failure. I decided to step up and become serious about life.
Ironically, early this year, I got a smartphone gifted by my cousin. First, I thought I would not install WhatsApp and FB on my smartphone and instead use it for basic functions and some transactional apps. Then somehow, I felt it was not a wise thing to do. I went ahead installing all popular apps. Nevertheless, I took one important decision, viz., to exit all social groups in which I was a member. Once out of all groups, chat space once again became less noisy. I also actively refrained from one-to-one chats with anyone. It felt fresh.
Albeit being a potentially distracting gadget, the smartphone turned out to be providential arrival. Unlike my experience of using WhatsApp and FB on my laptop through the Android simulator, using these apps on my smart device failed to give me any thrill. I could feel my obsession withering off.
With this sanity dawning, I organized my device with tools, widgets and apps that would aid me in productivity, transactions and purposeful messaging, rather than relegate it too an instrument of distraction and cheap entertainment.
I reserve for future posts, details of how I organized my apps and how the device has become an indispensable tool for ‘GETTING THINGS DONE‘.