3 min read

The Digital Distraction Journal

How a small physical notebook reduced my screen time by hours.

This happens every day: I get out my phone for a small task and end up doing something completely different instead. I want to write down an idea, get distracted by a notification, and suddenly spend 15 minutes on Facebook. When I finally put down my phone, I still didn’t write anything down.

Have you ever picked up your phone to check the clock and still had no idea what time it is when you put it down?

Over and over again I get distracted from the moment I am in and waste my time on apps and social media. Tech-companies design their apps to be as addicting as possible and that is why it is so easy to get sidetracked and to forget about your initial tasks – your phone is designed to do exactly that.

The good news: There is a very easy fix. Just don’t get out your phone.

If you don’t interact with your smartphone, you can’t be distracted and waste your time doing meaningless things.

But I still want to look things up and write down ideas. How do I do that?

This is where my digital distraction journal comes in. I got a small notebook and pen and carry them around at all time. Now, whenever I feel the urge to do something on my phone, I write it down instead. Tasks, ideas, and todos – they all get written down in my journal. I even write down when I want to scroll through reddit or look up someones Instagram profile.

At the end of the day I sit down and go through my notes and actually do all those things. I transfer my ideas and todos and look up the things that interested my during the day.

By batching my digital activities I am not only saving time, I also realise that some of the things that seemed so important in the moment are actually not that interesting. I often skip over more than half of the things in my digital distraction journal.


The Positive

I use my journal for around a month now and here are some of the positive things I have noticed:

  • Reduced screen time

I already told you about this. My digital distraction journal helped me to reduce my screen time by quite a few hours every week.

  • Living in the moment

Being less often on my phone means I can pay more attention to the moment. Think about it: you are sitting in an amazing location that inspires you and you want to write down an idea - so you get out your phone, get distracted by a Facebook notification, and suddenly you are on your phone for 10 minutes. By using a physical notebook you stay in the moment and can appreciate it.

  • Thinking on paper

I really like taking notes on paper. I can us the space to write down some bullet-points and even sketch out ideas. While my phone screen distracts me from my work, the paper enhances it.

  • A filter

By batching my activities I can filter through them. When I sit down in the evening I realise that I maybe don’t have to look up someones Instagram or have to check the price of bitcoin 12 times a day (I literally wrote down “check bitcoin price” this often one day). I can do everything just once and safe time. Also, the quality of my notes drastically improved because I already worked with them on paper and can write down the essence in the evening.

  • Not knowing can be fun

What is faster? Formula 1 or IndyCar? It is actually fun to debate with someone on topics like these instead of just looking them up.

  • I like notebooks

This is a personal one. I just like the experience of a notebook and feel like an explorer when I sit in a cafe writing down things on paper. Writing on paper is just better than typing on a screen.

  • Becoming mindful towards technology

This is one of the core messages of the Digital Oase: You have to become mindful on how and when you use technology and whether it brings you closer to your goals. A digital distraction journal trains you to actively recognise the times you are about to pick up your phone.

  • I didn’t miss anything

And one more interesting discovery in the end: even though I spend less time on my phone I didn’t feel like I missed anything. I got all the important things done in the evening and just cut out on a few hours of wasted time.


Conclusion

I can already tell that my distraction journal is here to stay. I have only used it for a month but I can see a lot of positive changes. I highly suggest you try it out yourself and find out whether this small physical notebook can change your life for the better as well. Let me know whether you discovered more positive effects or which ones you don’t agree with.


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