Tony Robbins’ Morning Ritual

Tony Robbins, the “#1 Life and Business Strategist”, is one of the leaders in the field of personal development.  Love him or hate him, you can decide by trying some of his practices for yourself and see if they help you or not.  Below is a summary of his Morning Ritual which he does every day.

This morning ritual takes him only between 15 to 20 minutes.  He even does some parts of this during his morning walk. The overall purpose is “to wire [himself] for happiness.”

Morning Ritual #1 – The Cold Plunge

Tony jumps into a cold pool (13 degrees celcius / 56 degrees fahrenheit) for 60 seconds.

He says that there are physiologic benefits to this, but it seems his main focus is on the psychological.  “If I say I’m going to do something, I do it.”

Morning Ritual #2 – “Priming”

 

Explosive Breathing

I’ve found contradictory statements for how exactly Tony does his breathing exercise.

Perhaps the best source is on his website.

Breath in through the nose for 5 seconds.

Hold the breath for 20 seconds.

Exhale through mouth over 10 seconds.

Whatever the time you spend on each phase, he recommends a ratio of 1:4:2. (So if you breath in for 3 seconds, you should hold for 12 seconds, exhale over 6 seconds).

He repeats this cycle of inhale-hold-exhale 10 times.

 

Visualization / Mental Rehearsal

This next section takes 9 minutes, divided into 3 different exercises.  In the podcast Tony Robbins stated that he doesn’t meditate, but these are really forms of meditation.

Step 1: 3 minutes of gratitude

The idea of this exercise is to focus himself on emotions that will cause him to be a better version of himself.

According to Tony, two of the most detrimental emotions are Anger and Fear and he says that gratitude is the antidote to these emotions (“If you’re grateful you can’t be angry and you can’t be fearful”).

He thinks of 3 things that he is grateful for (which can eb people, situations, things).  He makes sure that he really steps INTO the image / scene, and “feels the moment”.

Importantly, he makes sure that at least 1 thing he’s grateful for is really simple. For example “the wind on my face” or “my child’s smile”.  He trains himself to appreciate the little beautiful moments of life.

To drive home the reason for this, he gives the example of astronauts who have been up in space, seen earth as a little ball and come back down to a ticker tape parade. They’ve reached the pinnacle of their lives at the young age of 32, where do they go from here? This was their lifelong pursuit – and they achieved it.  He says that many astronauts face have major emotional challenges when they get back, including alcohol & drug abuse. They thought that the only way to be happy was to go to the moon and along the way they forgot to find adventure in a smile.

Step 2: 3 Minutes of Blessings

Tony imagines life / light / god / energy pouring into body, healing everything along the way. Strengthening him physically.  Strengthening his passion, love, generosity, creativity & humour. He sees any problems he has just being solved.

He then extends this imagery to his circles of intimate family, friends , clients and sends them the same healing energy, imagining them getting what they need energy wise and being healed.

(This is kind of similar to Loving Kindness meditation from what I’m aware).

Step 3: 3 to Thrive

Tony visualizes 3 specific outcomes that matter to him. He SEES, FEELS and EXPERIENCES these outcomes as DONE, as if he has already accomplished these outcomes. He sees the impact that these outcomes have, how peoples’ lives are touched. He feels the joy of seeing this as done and the outcome it causes, he feels it as DONE in his bones and is grateful for it.

 

Source: 

The Tony Robbins Podcast – Episode 11.

Inspiration for further reading:

Loving Kindness Meditation

Wim Hof Method

 

 

The Evidence for Meditation

As you may know in a past life I was a medical doctor. And I am a meditator.  I’ve written previously about my own personal experiences with meditation, but I want to share here some cold hard scientific evidence for (and maybe against?) meditation, since these days medicine is all about the evidence.

I’ve reviewed A LOT of the research on meditation (particularly mindfulness meditation) to date.  I used a combination of Google Scholar searches and Pubmed searches to find studies. In particular I looked for meta-analyses, systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials, which are the strongest levels of evidence (not all “studies” are created equal). Also, the specific studies that I’m including below are mainly from highly reputable medical journals (again, not all “journals” are created equal, and since I’m not a scientific or statistical whizz I’m also relying that the editors of the journal have done a good job of weeding out questionable research).

You can read the Cliff’s Notes of the studies below as well as review the original literature, if you are so inclined.

For those of you who aren’t, here is a really quick summary of all the evidence to date:

(1) Meditation seems to have a relatively strong effect on emotional / psychological well being, especially related to improving feelings of stress, anxiety & depression (even as effective if not more so than anti-depressants and cognitive behavioural therapy?!).

(2) There might be some effect on cognitive functioning (for example, memory).

(2) Might increase positive emotion (not 100% clear).

(3) Some effect on physiological outcomes?  Doesn’t really effect pain itself, but can effect acceptance of pain and functioning with pain.

There is also some evidence that the benefits of meditation can be sustained (which I imagine would be significantly enhanced if the practice of meditation is continued beyond a one-time course or intervention) and surprisingly that even novice meditators can see significant effects, including potentially changes in the brain itself!

The psychological effects of meditation: A meta-analysis.

  • Medium-Large effect of meditation on emotional & relationship issues.
  • Medium effect on attention.
  • Small-Medium effect on cognition.
  • Interestingly, the experience level of the meditator had little impact on the results.

Fine Print:  Published in “Psychological Bulletin”, Reviewed 163 studies (excluded 432 studies), looked at healthy adults.

Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

  • Moderate effect on improved anxiety.
  • Moderate effect on improved depression*
  • Moderate effect on improved pain.
  • Low or No evidence for effect on positive emotion & attention.

*Interesting side note: from doing quick journal research related to the effectiveness of anti-depressant medication, up to 70% of the “effect” of the drug can be due to placebo (backed up by multiple meta-analyses). And even more crazily, a meta-analysis of anti-depressants vs placebo found that anti-depressants for mild to moderate and even severe depression fell below the threshold definition for a “small effect”! (Anti-depressants showed a small to moderate effect on patients in the “very severe depression” group).

I’m not an expert at statistics, but this evidence would seem to show that for depression defined as mild to severe meditation is MORE EFFECTIVE than anti-depressants! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Fine Print:  Published in “The Journal of the American Medical Association / Internal Medicine”, included 47 trials (Randomized Controlled Trials) with 3515 participants, looked at adults with any medical condition.

Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis

  • Large effect on anxiety.
  • Moderate effect on depression.
  • These effects held quite strongly at follow-up (follow up duration varied significantly between studies).
  • In studies which compared meditation to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) there was little to no difference in effect.

Fine Print:  Published in “Clinical Psychology Review”.  Reviewed 209 studies with 12,145 participants.

Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners

  • Found 8 brain regions consistently altered in meditators with small effect size.
  • These included areas associated with meta-awareness, body awareness, memory consolidation, self and emotional regulation & inter/intra hemispheric communication.
  • There is some evidence that even very few hours of practice are required to show some initial changes in the brain.
  • Concluded that “any firm claims about whether meditation truly causes differences in brain structure are still premature.”

Fine Print: Published in “Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews”. Reviewed 21 studies with 300 meditation practitioners.

Effect of kindness-based meditation on health and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

  • Moderately effective at reducing depression.
  • Moderately effective at increasing mindfulness, compassion, self-compassion.
  • Moderately effective at increasing positive emotion.

Fine Print:  Published in “Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology”. Reviewed 22 studies.

Sitting-Meditation Interventions Among Youth: A Review of Treatment Efficacy

  • Meditation amongst both youth and adults has overall small-medium effect size on a wide variety of health related outcomes.
  • Psychological / Behavioural outcomes show moderate-large effect, while physiologic outcomes showed small-moderate effect.

Fine Print:  Published in “Paediatrics”, Reviewed studies involving youth 18 years and younger.

Mindfulness meditation for younger breast cancer survivors: A randomized controlled trial

  • Significant reduction in perceived stress.
  • Did not show statistically significant effect on depressive symptoms.
  • Significant reductions in pro-inflammatory gene expression & inflammatory signaling (WOW!)
  • Statistically significant reduction of fatigue, sleep disturbance, and vasomotor symptoms and increased peace and meaning and positive affect.
  • Intervention effects on psychological and behavioral measures were NOT maintained at three-month follow-up.

Fine Print: Published in “Cancer”. Randomized Controlled Trial involving 71 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer at or before the age of 50.

Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: A randomized controlled pilot study

  • Statistically significant improvement in “Pain Acceptance” and physical function.

Fine Print: Published in “Pain”. 37 adults aged over 65 with chronic lower back pain.

A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation versus relaxation training: Effects on distress, positive states of mind, rumination, and distraction

  • Both meditation and relaxation groups experienced significant decreases in distress as well as increases in positive mood states over time, compared with the control group.
  • Meditation showed a larger effect size on positive states of mind than relaxation.
  • The meditation group also demonstrated significant decreases in both distractive and ruminative thoughts/behaviors compared with the control group (stronger for ruminative thoughts).

Fine Print: Published in “Annals of Behavioral Medicine”. Involved 83 students (mostly female) who reported psychological distress.

Effects of mindfulness meditation on chronic pain: a randomized controlled trial.

  • Moderate effect on “vitality scale”.
  • Medium to large size effect on anxiety and depression, better psychological well being and acceptance of pain.
  • Non-significant effect on pain measures.

Fine Print: Published in “Pain Medicine”.  109 patients with nonspecific chronic pain.

Summary

The research to date shows that meditation seems to be effective at treating depression, stress and anxiety. It can also have an effect on better coping and functioning with pain as well as some evidence for improving cognitive functioning.

While its important to have a look at the scientific evidence, in the end you need to run an experiment on yourself to see if you feel better as a result of meditating, or not.  I found in my life it is extremely helpful and I definitely recommend that you give it a go.

Do you have any other thoughts or experiences about meditation and the evidence for it?

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

Further Reading:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471252/ – this article is quite interesting especially in explaining the different type of meditation practices.

http://marc.ucla.edu/ – mindfulness / meditation program used in one of the studies above.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4630307/ – study on Loving Kindness Meditation.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23541163 – RCT study on effect of meditation on Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17266067 – “Mindfulness meditation alleviates depressive symptoms in women with fibromyalgia”.

 

 

Meditation, Hamburgers & Enlightenment – My experience as a novice meditator

I believe that the path to success is to emulate what successful people have done before you.

As I’ve already shared with you in a previous post, there are two “hacks” which most successful people do:

They meditate.

They keep a journal.

I want to share in this post a bit about my experiences related to meditation and also to deep dive a bit into the research (I like cold hard facts).

My Experience with Meditation: The Beginning

So for a very long time I’ve been aware that meditation is a “good thing to do”. I’ve kinda lost count, but I think I’ve been meditating in one form or another for quite a few years.

Initially I was interested in hypnosis / self-hypnosis and I did that for a while. That was probably almost 11 years ago.  This was actually way before I was interested in business and way before I was listening to podcasts, doing intensive self-learning.  But I was always aware that if I manage to control and harness my mind, then this would be the key to unlimited achievement.

I’m trying to piece back my memories, but I’d say that I kept up this “self-hypnosis” for about 3 years or so. My memories are vague (post-hypnotic amnesia??)  It definitely wasn’t an ingrained practice, kinda sporadic, but I did definitely see benefits from it.

I guess this practice was more rooted in intense visualization and mental rehearsal. It helped crystallise my goals at the time and I have no doubt that this contributed to me ultimately achieving my goals back then.

Then somewhere along the way I dropped this practice (probably after achieving my goals…)

My Meditation Practice Today

Fast forward a few years and I was pursuing my new entrepreneurial goals.  Entrepreneurship is a mind fuck, it stretches you to your limits.  And that’s the thing that I love about it – your success (or failure) is totally (mostly) up to you. What you achieve is limited only by your creativity and ingenuity. It is SUCH a mental game.

So like many entrepreneurs I’ve been drawn to the “inner game” of entrepreneurship.  Searching for ways to hone my mindset so that I can succeed.

I drew back on my old days of “self-hypnosis” / visualization, but I found it hard to make it a habit on my own.  At some stage, browsing through the TED archives, I came across Andy Puddicombe’s TED talk about meditation and that is how I discovered Headspace.

I think they have done a tremendous job of gamifying meditation and I owe it wholly to the Headspace app for making meditation a part of my daily practice.

The genius of Headspace is their “Take Ten” program which guides you through 10 minutes of meditation per day for 10 days.  That is SUCH an easily achievable goal – its hard for anyone, even the busiest of people, to claim that they don’t have a spare 10 minutes per day.

The Take Ten program is free and you CAN sign up for membership to Headspace to gain access to loads more meditation programs.  I’m a subscriber, but honestly after having gone through most of the content I think the Take Ten is really enough. You can just keep repeating those sessions.

Anyway, that’s how I got into meditation and how I made it a habit (I obviously highly recommend that you try Headspace’s Take Ten program).

But What’s So Good About Meditation Anyway??

The thing is though, even after meditating for quite a few years, the benefits were not immediately apparent to me.

I knew a couple of things. Firstly, I felt good afterwards. Or at least not bad. It didn’t seem to hurt.

Secondly, I felt that often I would be more “mindful” and focussed for several hours (anywhere from 1 to 6 hours) after a morning meditation session of 10 minutes.  This would help me be more effective and efficient at work.

So these are definitely good points, but I felt that there was more to meditation that just this.  In his book “Waking Up“, the philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris draws parallels between meditation and extreme altered states induced by substances such as “Magic Mushrooms”, LSD and other hallucinogens (he goes so far as to state that he would feel sorry for his daughter if she didn’t try some of these substances… interesting…)

I made it a point to question this in my journal, to try and get to the bottom of this phenomenon and to understand why meditation is good for me.

It was around that time that I became enlightened over a hamburger.

Well maybe not enlightened… But I definitely had a profound experience which I’ll share with you below.  I’ll try to translate the experience I had in words, but these phenomena are experiential. i.e. You need to experience it yourself in order to truly understand it.

Anyway, what I understand about mindfulness meditation is that the morning practice is really training for the day.  The goal is to spread this mindfulness into your day to day activities.

So one evening, I went out to eat at my local burger joint (best hamburger in the WORLD btw…)

I went alone. I ordered my favourite burger with chips on the side. Unhealthy, I know, but damned tasty.

And while eating I decided to try an experiment.  I would “meditate” over this meal. I normally eating very quickly. I wolf my food down and before you can say abracadabra the contents of my plate have disappeared.

So that night I decided to eat my food SLOWLY. To chew thoroughly.  To savour the texture of the food. To focus on the taste.  To note the temperature. To feel the food sliding down my gullet and into my stomach.

I even closed my eyes in the restaurant. Weird, I know.  But with my eyes closed the flavour was amplified ten-fold.

And also with my eyes closed, I noticed my “fear” of people staring at me. It amplified my sense of ego and made me aware of this sensation of “ego”. I opened my eyes. No one cared.

And during this “food meditation” I noted something interesting. Even though I WAS eating extremely slowly, I always had the next bite ready to go in my hand.  As soon as I would swallow the morsel in my mouth, the next piece would be inside and I would be busy masticating again.

Building on this realization I noticed an underlying stress that I hadn’t been previously aware of.  I spontaneously named it “food stress”.

An instant later I had another profound realization – a type of realization that you feel in your bones. Something visceral, its not something that can be so easily put into words.   But I became aware that this “food stress” was a product not of any real fear, but rather that it was a deeply genetically encoded reaction to food. Something primal.  A sensation from the days when we would hunt in packs, when food was scarce and only the fittest survived.  You would need to eat your food quickly, to assert your claim to your meal, otherwise you would die. This primordial instinct caused my subconscious reaction to food, which in turn caused me to wolf down my food.

Wow. Now I know you’ll probably think this is pretty weird. But this was a profound experience for me.  (Again, keyword is experience – its really something you need to feel yourself, words can’t really do this experience justice). I was stunned.  This meditation allowed me to have deep insight into my behaviour.  To notice my behaviour, to notice my underlying emotional state causing the behaviour. Even to realize the underlying evolutionary reason for this emotional state.

This was a really “deep” meditation.  When I left the burger joint, mindfulness came with me.  I was aware of each step, of the wind brushing past me.

When I arrived home, I got a call from my girlfriend.  Normally I’m not such a phone person.  I don’t love talking on the phone (some would say I don’t love talking at all 🙂 But that’s not true…)

But that evening, instead of being “short” on the phone, which was my usual reaction, I was aware of my bubbling impatience.  This awareness allowed me to choose not to react on auto-pilot, but rather to acknowledge this feeling and focus on the conversation at hand.  Because of this profound mindfulness that carried over, I was super attuned to our conversation and my girlfriend’s feelings.  We went on to have a great and deep conversation on the phone, something we hadn’t shared for a long time.  I enjoyed it and so did she.

Amazingly, the mindfulness from my hamburger meditation spilled over to the next day.  I don’t remember precise details, but I do recall that I was able to evaluate challenges without an automatic response brought about by emotions.  Instead I was able to note my emotions and respond in a more thoughtful way, making better decisions for my company.

So its kind of funny, having such a profound experience over a burger.  But it was really profound. And it was a damned good burger.

What I know about the benefits of meditation for myself to date

And I got my answers to my own questions about the benefits of meditation for myself.  I know that this is probably just the tip of the iceberg, there is probably a lot more to explore in the realms of the mind, but these are my thoughts as a relatively novice meditator:

1) I feel better after meditating.

2) I’m more focussed, which allows me to be more efficient at what I do.

3) I am more mindful, sometimes even after the meditation.  This allows me to derive more pleasure from the world, to be in the present moment. It sounds trite, but it helps me to enjoy the green of the trees, the sounds of the birds chirping and to enjoy those small moments which I usually take for granted. The alternative, being stuck in the flow of our thoughts, dragging us to imagined future or past events, is the cause of suffering.

4) This mindfulness of my inner state and emotions allows me to notice emotions and thereby break my automatic patterns in response to an emotion.  This is amazingly beneficial and can help improve relationships, both personal and at work and make for much better decision making. This last point is a huge one!

So, that’s a quick summary of my experience with meditation to date and the benefits that I’ve seen from it.

I challenge you to make meditation a habit for yourself and see what you can gain from it. Try the Take Ten program from Headspace and take it from there.  (I sound like a salesman for them, but they just did an awesome job, I don’t get any commission or anything from this just to be clear).

In Part 2 I’ll review the some of the studies on meditation and we’ll find out what science has to say about all this!

On the Origin of Suffering

So I meditate a lot. Once a day. Every morning. I’ve been meditating for probably a couple of years with only some small breaks.  Its been an interesting (and beneficial) experience, but that is not what I wanted to write about today. Rather I want to share a not-so-original insight from my meditation sessions today.

What meditation (or “mindfulness”) allows you to do is to be AWARE, instead of being swept away with the stream of the mind.  It allows you to stand at the edge of the bank and be AWARE of the stream, to see the water flowing, but not to fall into the water of the mind’s incessant thoughts and to be swept away by them, losing awareness and becoming lost and intertwined in the stream.

During this morning’s sessions, I was aware of thoughts that were dragging me into the future.  And I was also aware of other thoughts, which were dragging me into past events.

These particular future events were attended by emotions of worry, what-ifs, potential and unrealised pain and disaster.

The past event were full of hurt and loss and regret.

The present – was only awareness.  Living in the moment as they say.

I’m sure what I’m saying is old hat to Buddhists, I think that was one of the Buddha’s big realizations that suffering is caused by these things (could be grossly wrong here, I’m not familiar with Buddhist philosophy).

Both the past and present are gone and we have no control over them, yet these “tenses” are I would say definitely cause the majority of our suffering.

Being fully PRESENT allows you to EXPERIENCE what is happening right now, being AWARE of emotions and thoughts, but not being swept away by them which can cause unnecessary suffering.

Meditation has a LOT of subtle but profound benefits (more on that later). It is something that needs to be EXPERIENCED.  Even if I describe it perfectly, I could never do the benefits of meditation justice unless you actually feel it for yourself.

As an action point and a great starting point – start with HeadSpace.

 

Do 10 minutes of meditation per day for 10 days using their app.

BTW I did a bit of browsing now on Buddhist related teachings on this topic and here are a couple of interesting quotes:

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts. It is made up of our thoughts. If one speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows one, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the wagon.

 

According to Buddha, there are four stages of deeper concentration called Dhyana: 1) The first stage of concentration is one in which mental hindrances and impure intentions disappear and a sense of bliss is achieved. 2) In the second stage, activities of the mind come to an end and only bliss remains. 3) In the third stage, bliss itself begins to disappear. 4) In the final stage, all sensations including bliss disappear and are replaced by a total peace of mind, which Buddha described as a deeper sense of happiness.

Note:  I am talking about religion at all.  Buddhist thought though has a lot to say on mindfulness and thousands of years of experience relating to it, so I believe there is a lot to learn from Buddhist views on this topic.

Further Reading:

 

 

9 Strategies to Cure Internet & Phone Addiction, Stop Distraction & Be More Mindful

Distraction is something that plagues me and I’m sure you as well.

These days we are bombarded by constant advertising & messages, vying for our attention, trying to suck us in.

I know that this is a constant struggle for me.

To the point that I have become addicted to the internet. Addicted to my phone.  When I’m not plugged into the net I feel irritated and irritable – classic withdrawal symptoms.

And I bet that most of you reading this also feel something similar. Maybe you’re not aware of it, but if not – then you should be.

What are the things that distract me most?

Apps

Apps and games on my phone are big culprits.

Facebook is particularly bad.  When I enter it I find myself scrolling for a long time. It is highly addictive.

Instagram is similarly bad.

Notifications from games often send me over to play them and I can lose an hour easily.

Going over to Google Now and reading the news.  Or heading over to news websites.

Getting notifications from my work related apps – email, slack.

Web

On the web, I often find myself doing useless tasks – such as checking analytics, checking revenue reports for our apps.  (It’s OK to find a scheduled time to do this, but I find it generally is a bad habit).

Facebook on the web, like mobile, can suddenly waste unintended time.

I can also spend quite a bit of time watching TV series online.  I start with one. Then another. Then another.  And then hours have gone.  Not that watching TV series is totally bad, but spending a whole evening binge watching doesn’t leave me feeling better.

Curing Modern Day Distraction

So, here are some solutions for our modern day distractions.

1) Delete apps that you have no use for from your phone

I deleted Instagram – it was purely voyeuristic, so that is out.

2) Nuke the internet on your phone

I just started doing this today – this is a great one.  Turn off wifi and mobile data and voila! Suddenly your phone is a phone once again and not a high end pocket sized computer.  No more distractions.  Instead only turn on the internet only if you really need to – and then turn it back off!

This allows me to check in to work related stuff when I’m mobile, but not to get distracted by all the notifications coming in.

3) Leave your phone at home

This is also great.  If you go out with friends or with your spouse, then consider leaving your phone at home.

My girlfriend and I have started doing this from time to time and it feels SO freeing to be out without the safety blanket that we mindlessly reach for in our pockets.

I need to do this more!

4) Turn off notifications from apps

I switched off notifications from all the apps that I found distracting.

Facebook I didn’t delete – because I need this for my work testing FB login to our apps and competitor apps and I’m in some business related groups which are important for me.  But I shut off all notifications from FB so that I would only go into the app on my own accord and not because I got some silly notification.

5) Get a feature phone?

I have a friend who still carries around an old Nokia that can only make calls and SMSs! No internet!

Personally I find it too useful and important for my business to be able to respond to my team when I’m mobile, but this is a brave and possibly sensible step for some.

6) Don’t put your phone next to your bed at night

I’ve been doing this for a while and this is great.

If the phone is next to me in my bedroom then I will automatically reach to it before I go to sleep to check stuff. And when I wake up I’ll automatically reach for phone and get sucked into its endless labyrinth, ruining the mindfulness that I’m trying to cultivate.

So when I go to sleep I leave my phone in the family room, set the alarm and head off to bed… phoneless!

Highly recommended.

7) Schedule Screen-free time

I’ve been trying to institute screen-free time before I go to sleep.

I’ve set an alarm for 21:30 at night which is supposed to remind me to shut off all screens (phone, computer – I don’t have a TV at home!).

… and 2230 I have an alarm which is supposed to remind me to get into bed.

I’ve been a bit ‘naughty’ with these rules, so I’ll need to try and push these habits a bit harder.

8) Use web apps that block sites and internet

I’ve been using StayFocusd which is a web app for Chrome which can let you easily block certain sites or limit the amount of time you spend on those sites (and even sites linked to from those sites!)

It also has a “nuclear” option to block all problematic sites or even switch off the internet completely for a certain amount of time…

Theres another app that seems quite popular, Freedom, which I have yet to try – works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac and Windows.

For android devices there are apps like ClearLock which might do the trick… downloading that one right now!

And this one seems REALLY cool! Forest dubs itself “the best cure for phone addiction”!

9) Find more productive things to do when you are disconnected

Now that you’ve freed up a lot of your spare time, you should fill it in with something more useful and productive.

Some things that I do or would like to do (or do more of):

Go for a phone-free walk with your spouse.

Meditate.

Write a blog post.

Journal.

Exercise (I like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), running.

Read.

Meet up with friends.

Speak to friends.

Summary

I hope this helps you.  In these modern times I think way too many of us are internet and phone addicts.  I know I am and by taking these steps above I hope you and I can become less distracted & more mindful in our every day lives!