Earlier this year in 2012, Louise and I decided to only open our letter box once per week, every Friday of the week as we found that we used to "pass by the letterbox every day" and since "we pass by, let's check our letter box." Come to think of it, it's not a very wise nor productive use of our time.
I mean, we don't check our bladders at every minute to see if it's time to relieve ourselves. We don't tap our stomachs every moment to see if we're hungry. Same for SMS or emails or phones or whatever.
It's called "clunking" or "batching" things together. If I need to check my email, I'll do it at a go, at a fixed time, and answer whichever is required. Not required, goes delete (such as unsolicited emails/spam etc).
This approach saves me on average 25 minutes per week, which I choose to spend on doing more important things, such as spending more time exploring and experiencing loving moments with my wife, family and friends; reading the bible, reading personal development books and articles, writing articles etc. 25 minutes per week may not seem much, but if one take a look at the span of a year, it'd bulk up to 1300 minutes, which is 21.6 hours, about 3 full days!
Is there something in your life you can add this principle to? Perhaps you check your email at every hour? Or like us then, checking your mailbox everyday? What else can you apply this to?
In a season and spree of freeing up my free time from activities that don't really matter as much, I've decided to delete many apps from my iPhone, from social networking apps such as FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc; to limiting my emails and SMS checking (see previous post) and deleting whatever apps that I don't use functionally in my day to day activities.
An example of functional apps are like the app I use to see what time my buses are coming (it's a really cool and functional app which I used at least twice a day, only when I'm deciding what time to head for the bus stop so that I need not wait for more than 3 minutes at most). Of course, there are some people who has been telling me to "live life as is, and don't worry what time the bus comes, it comes when it comes" - I understand that mindset, because their reasoning behind it is that fundamentally we subscribe to a "fear" and "insecurity" mindset, that worrying that we lose time by waiting for buses or cutting out whatever is "wasting" time because we are too fearful of losing things and time, and need to detach from that perspective, and live life "just being."
This perspective is something I subscribe to, and understand, but my "just being" involves doing what I believe, conceive and conclude, that is my purpose in life, doing what I'm made, called and believe in doing, so I'd not like to waste time not "being" what I'm "just being" the most.
Hmm. This "just being" idea can be extrapolated and thought through a little more. Let me ruminate on it, and let it marinate just a tad more.
I think I'm moving into a new phase of my life, and of living. I've removed Facebook from my iPhone about 3 months ago. And just now, as I'm typing this, I've removed all the apps that I don't really use in my life, including games.
To put matters in perspective, I love games. Handhelds, PC games, console games. Heck, even pen-and-paper games. I was introduced to the world of games and gaming at the tender age of 8 years old (that's a total of 22 years of gaming, my friend), and for me to delete it all from my iPhone means a lot, to me at least. This is not to say I will not play games once in a while once I go back to Malaysia to visit my brother, as my brother is an avid gamer and loves to introduce games to me.
I'm pretty sure lately he's been a little disappointed in my decisions to slowly cut out games from my life as my focus and priorities changed as I embarked on this journey of personal development for a better, and more progressive life and living style. I love my brother, and I love games, but I love focusing on things that matter more. When I meet my brother in Malaysia, I'd still probably bond with him over games, but not as much as I'd like to pursue some other interests, which had grown over the last few years, which are spending quality time and having meaningful conversations with people whom I love, my family, my brother, my wife, my God included.
I also made this decision because I am taking time out to be more in the present moment with the people I'm with. What happens is that when we travel here in Singapore, we may be in taxis, buses or flying, I turn to my iPhone to entertain me in games or surfing the net, or something along that line. I realized this morning, that as my lovely wife was talking to me, I was actually not paying as much attention to her as I should, as I was playing a game whilst she was talking to me. She, in her loving grace, allowed me to do so and once she realized I'll be still playing game, she allowed me to continue playing and she in turn, turned to her iPhone to read news. Hmm. I wonder if I perpetuate this situation?
I am doing a full utilitarian-iPhone approach, so my iPhone will be used primarily for function or use that is pertinent to my living and life, such as emailing, texting, answering and making calls, reading the bible, scheduler, checking the time the bus arrives and skype and whatsapp. Other than that, during travel or lag time, I will spend time with the person I'm with without distractions, or simply read books and blog entries.
Life is a great thing, and I don't want to waste an hour a day doing things that don't matter as much as I think they do. If you'd like, ponder and consider what I'm doing and saying, and if it's too much to do it all at a time, trying taking things one thing a time e.g. removing one app a day, or choosing to turn off the phone when you're spending time with someone whom you love and treasure.
Let me know if it makes a difference in your life.