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  • Writer's pictureAnjum Madan

Back to Analog

Last week, I talked a bit about a subtle shift that has been happening in me and about morning routines. Today I have another to share with you another step that I’ve taken – but first let me take you back three years (cue dramatic music…..)


Three years ago, I visited my Uncle and Aunt who live in Hong Kong. My Uncle has always been the one to introduce me to the latest technology – I’m going to date myself here – he got me my first Walkman, Discman, and Mini-Disk Player – did you ever have these, or am I just old? So, when I went to visit them he wanted to get me the latest thing – he kept asking me about getting me a new phone – or handheld game console – every day there was a new idea. And each day, I would respectfully decline. I felt like it wasn’t right for him to buy such expensive gifts for me -especially since I am now a adult – working a decent job – I am able to get myself the devices I want. (In hindsight, given what I know now, there was a definite feeling of not being worthy of that – that’s not really relevant to the story but I wanted to mention it because I am sure that some of you are screaming it at me!).

I recognize (and recognized at that time) that my Uncle shows his love by buying gifts. He is a man of few words and doesn’t show affection outwardly. By giving these gadgets, he is letting us know that he cares. And every time I said no, I knew I was hurting him – yet the next day he would have another idea. Finally, on the day I was leaving, I was packing my bag and he came into the room and gave me this small travel alarm clock. I smiled. He had found something to give me that I couldn’t say no to. So I thanked him and packed it away.

Of course, it is not something I have used. After all, we all have alarm clocks that we carry around with us all the time on our phones. I don’t use an external alarm clock. One of the things I have realized over the past week is that I need to reduce the amount of time I spend on my phone. I know you have also spent too much time scrolling through Facebook and/or Instagram and found that time has passed and you are still following the trail into the abyss.

I made a decision not to go on Social Media for the first 1 ½ hours of the day. Easier said than done, right? I found that I would turn off the alarm on my phone and automatically click on the programs that had notifications on them – which was basically all of them. And then I would get lost in those platforms and find that I would not have the concentration to write my Morning Pages. While writing the pages, I would think of things I wanted to check and I would switch over to my phone and pull up Google to check it – or Amazon – or whatever else it triggered – which would lead to the conscious stream of writing being disrupted. So I dug out the clock my Uncle gave me. Now, my phone in the drawer of my desk overnight. The alarms are switched off and it doesn’t get pulled out until I have finished writing my pages and I put the journal away and pull out my phone and work laptop – to get ready for the day ahead.

This act of putting things away and pulling it out when it is time to move on to the next phase has been a game-changer for me. I hope that this story inspires you to consider how you can create clearer boundaries in parts of your life where you may need it!

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