Smell the flowers
Continuing our guest blog series featuring colleagues from across our company, I am delighted to bring you Vikas Hazrati, Global CTO – NashTech Inc and Country Manager North America.
Keep safe and well,
Winter had just decided to go on a break, the spring air was crisp, and the sun shone brightly. Lovely flowers were beginning to bloom. It looked like a perfect day to accomplish a lot. Yet towards early evening, the feeling was the same.
The plans to get a lot done were just that. Plans. Marred by a series of interruptions and distractions, this was yet another day going into the abyss with a lot planned and little accomplished. The notifications and the scroll monster had won again.
I am sure a lot of us have gone through this feeling. Bev talks about pace and focus. Jony Mandal (VP Culture & Development at NashTech) had been telling me about a similar concept of a clock and compass for years now. We are in an ever-connected world.
Even if the other person does not feel that way, we are always under the impression that we need to respond immediately. As soon as the computer, phone or tablet chimes a new notification, we get distracted from the work at hand and move our focus to something that might be urgent but not important.
This gets further amplified by the plethora of social media channels that we are on because we do not want to miss out. The tech giants exploit our most fundamental needs. The need to belong to a group, to connect with people, and to be accepted.
Mindfulness and Digital Minimalism
So how do we make this right? There are two raging concepts that try to give answers. Mindfulness and Digital Minimalism.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present. It involves being aware of where we are and what we are doing. We should not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us.
Mindfulness allows us to work towards digital minimalism. We are mindful that every chime does not necessarily mean a diversion of attention. We are mindful that every box for entering an email to subscribe to a newsletter does not add knowledge. We are mindful that endless scrolling on social platforms does not add any incremental value.
Digital Minimalism from Cal Newport.
“Digital minimalism is a philosophy that helps you question what digital communication tools (and behaviours surrounding these tools) add the most value to your life. It is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.”
Digital minimalism would involve taking frequent social media breaks and unfollowing unwanted newsletters and other low-quality content. Turning off notifications and not jumping to every chime from your devices.
This frees up time for activities and brain cycles that matter. It leads to better focus, work-life balance, more space, and reduced costs.
Mindfulness and Digital Minimalism go hand in hand.
Mindfulness allows us to work towards digital minimalism. We are mindful that every chime does not necessarily mean diversion of attention.
We are mindful that every box for entering email to subscribe to a newsletter does not add knowledge. We are mindful that endless scroll on social platforms does not add any incremental value.
“I am yet to meet someone who feels exhilarated after an evening of trawling clickbait, yet I know many who do feel that way after committing a key module to an open-source repository.”
The power duo
So next time, when you feel that your day was not as productive as you would have expected it to be, remember the power duo of mindfulness and digital minimalism.
When at a dinner strike up a live conversation than look down on your phone. When in a meeting, avoid multi-tasking and checking notifications. When walking down the road, ignore scrolling your phone and smell the flowers. You would feel alive and exhilarated.
PS: - While writing this I was distracted 7 times by the notification chime on my laptop. I have tried hard to keep at it and not divert my attention though the feeling that something needs my attention is eating me. I am still a student of mindfulness and digital minimalism. Someday …
Interested in reading more? Check out this book by Cal Newport