So I was addicted to Facebook. Like, really addicted. While at work, anytime I found myself stuck on a problem I’d immediately open a new browser tab just to zone out by reading the latest posts from friends and from any of the dozen groups I had subscribed to. I was living in a cycle of shallow, getting easily overwhelmed by my work and taking quick escapes before I had to think too hard about anything. I was like a rat with a button – just going to Facebook was giving me small dopamine hits, so I kept going and kept going.
I was also addicted at home. Facebook was always the most used app on my phone. I got on immediately when I woke up in the morning, I’d scroll as I walked my dog three times a day, and I’d zone out while I ate dinner. Hardly an hour would go by in my life when I didn’t check Facebook at least once.
I knew something had to change. I was addicted. But at least I had taken the first step: admitting I had a problem. Now I just had to do something about it.
My goal was not to complete quit Facebook, nor did I want to go cold turkey. My only goal was to stop turning to Facebook any time I was feeling an emotion. Instead, I wanted to feel the emotion, to experience discomfort, push through it and grow from it.
Continue reading “How I broke my Facebook addiction (without going off the grid)”
Lately I’ve noticed something. As much as I think about my side project and dream about quitting my day job to pursue it full time, I haven’t actually worked on it that much in the last few months. When I come home in the evening, instead of heading for my laptop and banging out a few lines of code, I head straight for the TV and zone out for the rest of the night. In the latter half of 2017 I spent considerably more of my attention juggling between Netflix, Facebook and Instagram than I had on the one thing I thought was my life’s purpose. I almost felt as if I was floating through my life rather than taking control of it. So I decided to do something about it.
I’m a big fan of Austin Kleon‘s. Every week I look forward to reading his newsletter and picking up all sorts of inspiration from them. On December first I opened his newsletter, cup of coffee in hand, like I do every Friday and in the very first paragraph the gauntlet was thrown. He was challenging me to take on a 30-day challenge for the remaining days of 2017, and for inspiration he added a couple of links. The first link to his article on how being an artist (or anyone who does creative work) is like living in the movie Groundhog’s Day, how you just have to put in the hours every day until one day you notice that you’ve actually built something worth having. The next link was to a printable 30-day challenge tracker.
Now I know that none of this is in any way profound. Probably since the beginning of modern humanity people have preached the gospel of putting in the work every day. We’ve all heard it a million times, but for me this time it finally sunk in. So I vowed that when I got home I would finally print out that simple page with its 30 boxes and get to work.
My challenge was straightforward: push code (any code) to my side project on GitHub every day in December. I didn’t set any parameters around the length of code or the time spent, but I just wanted to make sure that by the end of every day I had one line of functional code to add to my git repository. I was motivated and I was finally following the sage advice of Shia LaBeouf.
Continue reading “Commit to your code: a month of pushing in December”