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Lifehack Challenge: 24 Hour Digital Fast

Lifehack Challenge: 24 Hour Digital Fast

Are you too connected? Have you handed too much time over to ever-present technological marvels that offer charming reasons to take up every moment of your life? If you,

  • Reach for your phone the moment you wake up
  • Check your email while still working on a reply
  • Have ever silenced your child or ignored a loved one’s voice so you could pay attention to “internet friends”
  • Can’t go more than 30 seconds of silence without breaking out a mobile device

There’s a good chance you might be suffering from over-connectedness. What’s the solution? For many, a little time away from the madness is all it takes to regain a healthy perspective and jump back in with a smile.

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    That’s where this Lifehack Challenge comes in.

    This is a challenge for you to go on a 24 hour digital fast. What’s that? You take 24 hours and spend it completely free of the electronic devices that take up your every waking moment.

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    Unlike the Early Riser challenge that lasted for 5 days, the digital fast is only 24 hours. This will work best because most people can disappear for 24 hours without a remote contact even wondering about them. You’ll be able to take 24hrs for yourself and not even worry about going through all the work of letting your contacts know what’s happening.

    Why would you want to do such a thing? Because you’re wondering if you can. Even better, you’ve already decided that you can and simply needed a little push to make it happen. That’s what the community here at Lifehack can provide for you: a little push. We’ll be here before and after, but during your digital fast it’s just going to be you and the people you spend time with face to face.

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    Still interested?

    Here’s how it works.

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    1. Choose either the 10th, or 11th of this month (April) as the day for your digital fast.
    2. Tell some of your friends what you’re going to do. The social pressure of telling others can often prove helpful in bringing about change. Want a little extra pressure (and encouragement)? Join us on Facebook or leave a comment below saying you’re in!
    3. Plan ahead for what you’ll do with all the extra time you’re going to have. It’s important that you stay busy when you’ve been accustomed to checking your iPhone constantly!

    So, pick your day, let us know one of the things you plan to do with your digital-free day, and come find us on Facebook where I’ll be sharing extra tips and thoughts from my experience with breaking free of the need to be constantly on.

    Welcome! Now it’s time to set you free, at least for a day, from all those devices that drive you nuts.

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    More by this author

    Seth Simonds

    Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

    It’s also unnecessary.

    Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

    Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

    But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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    Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

    “It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

    The Fake Inbox Zero

    The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

    Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

    You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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    Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

    However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

    The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

    So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

    Have zero inboxes.

    The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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    So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

    You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

    The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

    There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

    Stop Faking It

    Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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    Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

    If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

    More Productivity Tips to Get Organized

    Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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