We all have our weak moments with technology. Scrolling social media. Playing video games. Binge watching TV.
My weak moments tend to come at the end of my work day. After a long day of meetings and deep focus, I get tired and stuck in behavioral loops. I check Twitter, Slack, and email. On repeat. I keep looking for the next dopamine hit – that last opportunity to make something out of the day. And it can continue for 30-45 minutes. Sometimes even more.
Embarrassingly, I end up coming down late for dinner with my family as a result. They are left to wait for me. Or in the extreme, they went ahead and ate.
When I do break free earlier, it’s not uncommon for me to be still ruminating on the days stresses. Unable to stop checking my phone.
On those evenings, distraction reigns. We watch TV during dinner. Conversation is minimal. Time starts to slide.
More than once it occurred to me that I needed to fix this. But I didn’t have the energy to do what I needed to do.
Here’s how I have started to use Focusable to break free from engaging experiences and make the investment of better attention with my family.
At the end of the day I open up Focusable and start a Recharge Activity. For this, I often pick a calming breathing exercise like the Cyclic Sigh. I might also add in an Eye trace activity to relieve screen fatigue and prime myself to visually focus on my family. Then I swipe to Refocus and start the Pulse timer.
I use the Pulse timer’s 5 minute alarm as a goal to get myself up and moving. My phone is asleep and in my pocket by the time I am downstairs and engaging with my family. I am not looking at Focusable. The activity is running in the background.
If my son is watching TV, I use the energy to convince him to stop, come to the table and maybe setup a game for us to play during dinner. If my wife needs help, I try to pick up whatever is necessary.
Then I just try to focus on being present. I know Focusable is running in the background and that gives me added motivation. I try to resist whatever distraction or impulse to check messages that arises before the recording alarm goes off at 45 minutes. And then I use this to record these experiences – to build a video journal of the quality time I spend with family. I’ve always struggled with balancing present moment awareness and recording, and this gives me a way to manage that tension better.
Here’s an example of a Focusable activity just like this.
What’s the outcome? The time is almost always enjoyable. We laugh more. We talk. We play more. We don’t shut down, watch TV and let time slide away. And I end up with a way to remember the quality time we spend together with the recordings.