How I put a barrier to spending too much time on my phone: Tasker

I noticed (thanks to Rescuetime) that I was wasting too much time on my phone. You know the feeling: oh, I’m ‘just’ going to check Facebook/reddit and then 45 minutes of you just staring at the same thing has gone by. So I opened up the trusty app Tasker, which people have used for some ingenious things, and made a small profile that I’ll use for a little while: if I open up Facebook or the Internet browser, it immediately closes, and pops up a reminder to think of 3 things I’m grateful for, and to briefly remind myself of the mental opportunity cost I’d pay. Here’s how.

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Low-level Burnout: Willpower’s Equivalent to Muscle Burn

While trying to think of ways to increase my focusing power for hard and thought-intensive work like studying, this bolt of an idea came out of the blue. Over the past couple days, I had a tendency to reach a point where my brain said, no more, you’re going to go eat chips and be a phone zombie for the next hour. I realized that feeling of low-level burnout (not to the point where you want to quit school or your job or whatever, just break for the day) is like your muscles burning and then giving out when weight training.

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Avoiding World-Perception Alterations (like Fanfiction)

This is somewhat of an more esoteric topic. In my mind, this isn’t as broadly applicable as many other things I’ve put into writing. But it’s had a pretty large influence on my mind, enough that empirical patterns start to emerge and I can almost viscerally feel the influence; this post might catalyze you into realizing the same can happen to you.

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Using Sleep & Mood to Gauge Sleep Requirements & Energy Cycles

Sounds a little redundant, but has been an enormously useful mental heuristic for me. Being able to adjust my mental estimate of how much sleep I currently need based on that just the previous night’s sleep and the current morning’s awakening lets me know how to plan the next night or two of sleep. It’s an important tool in my efforts to remain on-track to goals and staying on top of things.

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A Simple Home Bodyweight Workout

In light of being back to writing on a blog, I wanted to share one of the things I give the most credit to in helping me perform better this semester (Jan-May 2015): a simple bodyweight workout I did near daily. Doing this was short and simple enough I could do it every day, at home, and with minimal equipment or starting cost. That meant I had little excuse to skip out. In turn, I ended up with a slightly better body, better confidence (corny doesn’t make it not true!), and also more energy. 

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