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I feel you man, literally those 4 points (plus the 5th resulting point of lack of focus) are all things I do. So last Tuesday morning I decided to take a break from Twitter/Social for a while and in... *checks watch* 37 minutes my wife and I will start a 24 hour "Sabbath" of zero screens. (The plan is to do that every Saturday 5PM till Sunday 5PM.)

I always get reminded from that Matrix quote "You need to unplug, man." when I'm too much online.

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I'm working my way up to a complete 'digital sabbath'. Currently the digital intermittent fasting is working for me, but longer fasts would certainly be helpful!

Also reminded of Alan Watts: “A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So, he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusions."

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DIF definitely makes a diff!

Alan indeed is full of these beautiful quotes/insights right. Hadn't heard this one yet, very fitting to my life when I'm in an overthinking state.

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Apr 17, 2023Liked by Michael Ashcroft

In my experience, the causation is actually backwards. Often, when my mind is dealing with some stresses or wanting to avoid parts of my internal experiences, or trying to restrict my awareness —that is when I am attracted more to endless feeds, less to mindfulness and the day also does feel less vivid. On days when I am already in great mental health and excited to engage with the day fully, I am less attracted to endless scrolling. But since you're talking about part of the attraction for you being social engagement, maybe this isn't true for you?

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Indeed, I think it can go both ways. When my mental health isn't where I want it to be, I find myself more pulled towards the apps. But in this case, I wake up happy and then find myself markedly unhappier after the scrolling.

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Brilliant post thanks.

Apps are designed to pull you in. I recently posted about an app you can install on your phone to make you think each time you want to check YouTube or Facebook or whatever your vice is.

I hope you don’t mind me popping the link there in case you find it useful.

https://open.substack.com/pub/neverstoplearning1/p/is-your-phone-stealing-your-life?utm_source=direct&r=1nyz10&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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Glad you liked it!

Agreed, we need to learn how to manage the influence that these tools have on us. Thanks for the link.

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Apr 15, 2023Liked by Michael Ashcroft

Ach, Michael, this is a cross we hang on. We seek attentional freedom, for which your work is invaluable, and yet there are human pearls in the social media that we want to know.

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author

It's a fine line to tread. I think the best way is to tread it with awareness, both of the benefits and the costs, and make sure the balance is always in our favour.

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“Deep Work” and all things Cal Newport worth the read, or re-read!

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Great piece Michael. I'm sorry I'm only reading it now! A daily digital fast seems like the best way forward. I've also been trying not to look at my phone for the 1st hour every morning. Might be time to extend that.

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