During the sudden lockdown that was announced across the world as well as in India, I became a victim of chaos, uncertainty, and disorder. I wanted my rhythm back. The rhythm that I intended to use to have some sanity, harmony, and happiness in and around my life.
Using the principles of Content UX and design thinking, I divided my day into 4 segments between space and time. I called these segments:
- Within: Everything to do with me. My mind, body, and soul. And, this includes exercise, gardening as my hobby, meditation, working on myself, reading, writing, and so on.
- Without: My family. In the absence of them, my existence and character will not be what it is.
- Now: Every task of my professional and domestic work that lets me survive.
- Future: All I need to do now to achieve something that I have planned for the future. This includes my learning hours, networking, saving up, and honing skills.
Interestingly, my phone helped me turn productive during the COVID-19 lockdown which otherwise turns out to be the distraction master.
I ended up pacing with my fitness regime, keeping a tab on my reading goal for 2020, ensuring pauses in between work calls to meditate, and also developed a new hobby – gardening. My phone helped me get these elements of a day into a rhythm despite having to manage domestic work and my daughter. Thanks to my awesome husband who sincerely shared domestic work.
I got consumed by news, messages, video calls, and the new normal. My environment no longer had controls in place that would stop me from gazing into the phone for long hours. My conscience turned dormant.
I must admit that mobile phones distract us every minute to read the message, or peek into the notification, react to every bling and ding that pops up.
Each time I unlocked the phone, reacting to notifications, I realized I was stepping into anxiety. But, something happened.
I realized that I could not discipline my mind from being distracted, but I could change how the phone behaved!
As much as shifts in worldviews have an impact on our life, even changes to the way you organize your phone view can add incremental value to your work style. Your daily routine can change. It builds a rhythm.
The moment I unlocked my phone it looked distracting with icons scattered all over the screen. But, here is what I did.
I brought down my phone view to a single screen. Also, I changed my wallpaper 🙂 So what’s the big deal?
Eliminate options. Keep what you need.
This home screen view reminded me that I need to do what I am supposed to do at that given point of the day. My wallpaper says, “Do what you gotta do when you ought to do.”
I organized the apps on my phone in chronology. By that, I mean that apps are organized by how my typical day is planned. As mentioned earlier all my tasks were arranged into four segments.
According to that apps were shelved into folders so that I don’t access them with a single click. This practice enforced a behavior that ensured that I only do what is necessary at that moment in time.
So what does my day begin with?
Snoozing is what I also do with my alarm. Every preceding night, I set my alarm based on when I sleep. Managing your family, career, hobby, and other personal aspirations all together can make your day look messy. So, I have three alarms set at different intervals to ensure that I wake up for sure. It might sound like overkill, but that worked for me.
Next, comes the first folder.
My folder of fitness has two apps. The Lose Belly Fat and the Fitbit. I use the Lose Belly Fat to get into a face-paced workout every day. I choose to skip it on a few days and replace it with yoga or deep breathing exercises. Fitbit is what helps me a tab on an essential number of steps every day.
Apps distract. But, distractions can be your habit anchors.
I use two apps that are filled with a lot of free classes. I haven’t attempted the paid version until now. Based on how I feel and how I want to feel, I choose a meditation session for each day. The two apps that I choose are: Simple Habit and Meditation.
Once, I am done with that I try and move on with my reading goal.
I use the ‘reading challenge’ features in the Good Reads app. Or pick something from my reading list on Medium. Here is how it looks like.
Learning and Networking
I stay in touch with my professional network on Linkedin and meet my learning goals based on how much time is left in the morning zone.
After that, I move onto checking my tasks and schedule in the calendar, check my emails. Get to work.
After work, I settle down with my daughter, gardening outside. I wrap up my day spending time with my family.
This helps me touch base almost everything important to me.