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Jelle Smeets
Jelle Smeets

Posted on • Originally published at blog.jellesmeets.nl

Fixing my attention deficit

Ever since I am a father of two twin boys, my free time has become scarce. A few days ago I watched a seminar by the Dutch association for parents of multiples on how to handle your own life as a fresh parent of multiples. In this webinar, a website tijdbaas.nl (Dutch only, unfortunately) was shared. You can use Tijdbaas to make an assessment of how you spend your time. Do you spend it on the things you love and give your energy? Or are you spending it on energy-sucking activities you do not really want to do?

When I got the results of the assessment, it triggered me to take a look at how I spend my own time. I want to spend more time working out, creating content, and spending quality time with my wife and boys. But how can I make time for those things?

Deep down I have known this for years, I spend too much time on social media. I have attempted to reduce my time, but I always manage to circle back. And the real problem is, I don't even enjoy it that much. It has simply become my default go-to thing to do, and before I know it it's hours later.

The goal of fixing my attention deficit is to be intentional about how I spend my time. The default way I spend my time should not be to watch the 17th episode of my show on that day or to scroll on Instagram. But to actually do things I enjoy.

What inspired me?

In the last few weeks, I read several pieces that managed to come together.

I am intrigued by Sommer who did a month without Twitter. She wrote her findings in a blog post on One month without Twitter. She describes that her phone was her actual addiction, reaching out to it to prevent a quiet moment. This resonated with me. Her analogy nails the relationship I currently have with my phone as well.

Yesterday I read The Attention Diet by Mark Manson (you might know him from the subtle art of not giving a fuck). This was the final straw to get me to act on this feeling. The attention diet is a pretty extensive article to convince you to basically do what I am doing now.

One thing that strikes me as contradictory is the book Finding joy in chaos by Kevon Cheong. The main goal of this book is to help you build meaningful relations and interactions on Twitter. How does this play into the whole "cut back on social media" thing I am trying?

Kevon mentions in his book that the goal is not to have as many followers but focus on building meaningful relationships with a smaller group of followers. This overlaps with Mark Manson's vision of the "Fuck yes or no" rule on social media.

Is being connected to this person adding value to my life? Does this person/group help me grow? If the answers aren't a emphatic FUCK YES. Then you need to unfollow them.

Mark Manson

The practical stuff

I made using social media as hard as possible by using the following setup:

  • Disable all notifications for social media
  • IOS screen time to limit all social media to a max of 15 minutes per day in total.
  • Installed Leechblock as a Firefox plugin to limit social media to a max of 15 minutes per day, and none during working hours.
  • Completely removed social media apps that can be used in Safari, to make it harder.
  • Unfollow people on Social media. Or as Mark Manson called it: the Fuck yes! or no rule.
  • I started subscribing to newsletters to get bite-sized content from creators I love.

Conclusion

The main goal of fixing my attention deficit is to be more intentional with my time. Spend it doing the things I love.

I will keep you updated on the progress. If it all goes well not on social media, but in my newsletter.

Top comments (4)

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incrementis profile image
Akin C.

Hello Jelle Smeets,

thanks for your article.
It's very insightful.

I also want to congratulate you on your achievement.

"The goal of fixing my attention deficit is to be intentional about how I spend my time"
I agree with that 100%.
I would even say that this also applies to doing something intentionally unintentionally.

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smeetsmeister profile image
Jelle Smeets Author

Glad you liked the article Akin!

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iiiaann profile image
Rian

Thank you sir, this post really made my day.
I once had an addiction to one of the popular social media, but I decided to delete that app from my smartphone. Ok... it seems that indirectly I applied the "Fuck yes or no" rule.
The first time I delete that social media it was really "painful" because it felt like I wanted to go back to using it, but after a few weeks everything was normal and I could feel happy without that social media.

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smeetsmeister profile image
Jelle Smeets Author

Glad to hear you liked the post Rian!

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