I couldn’t help myself.
Make Your Creative Dreams Real was eyeing me from the passenger seat. Freshly freed from the bookshelf at the thrift store, it pleaded for my attention. The colourful drawings with its promise of teaching me how to finally make my creative dreams come true were irresistible. The author had plans for “procrastinators, perfectionists, busy people, and people who would really rather sleep all day.” I should have known better. Besides action— doing— everything else is mastrubatory.
I learned that from the last psychiatrist, but I never learn.
Slightly bored and stuck in traffic, I gave in. While stopped at a red light, I looked over at Make Your Creative Dreams Real and picked it up. I began flipping through the pages. Green light— oops— set down the book, drive, next stop light, flip, flip, flip, oops, green light again, drive, stopped at red light, flip, flip, flip. I didn’t actually read anything. It’s impossible to pay actual attention to words and not cause avoidable accidents.
I was simply amusing myself while thinking about the simplest, yet most practical advice I read a while back: Never look at your phone in a situation where it wouldn’t be appropriate to read a book.
Would you start reading a book in the middle of a conversation? Or while watching a movie? What about during a concert? Or in a meeting? Would you read a book while driving? It would be inapproiate to do so. Why is then acceptable to b on our phones in similar situations?
The idea helped me visualize the ridiculousness of being on my phone during a conversation, or at a concert. I would ask myself what if it was a book in my hand right now instead of my phone, and I would feel so silly that I would put my phone away. This habit has stuck with my throughout the years and I rarely if ever find myself on my phone if I am expected to engage with other people or my surroundings. Of course, there are exceptions.
But, I won’t bore you with the exceptions, and the but-what-ifs. In a situation where you wouldn’t read a book, you shouldn’t scroll on your phone either. It’s simple. Try it. If it doesn’t work for you, you could always go back to
reading a book being on your phone while driving.
Until next time,
Sign up for my curated weekly newsletter on spending less time online and (re)discovering the pleasures of the offline world. Five ideas delivered right to your inbox. Every Tuesday.