“Try reading a book while doing a crossword puzzle. That’s the intellectual environment of the Internet.”
— Nicholas Carr
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
The Core Benefit of a Life with Fewer Ads
Last year, I met a close friend over some drinks. Like always, we talked about all sorts of things from new games to new tech to new life updates. There was a lot of ‘new’ to cover. We were seeing each other after months.
Just then, my friend mentioned this advertisement that was probably playing all over social media and YouTube during those days. They said something and assumed I would know about it. I didn’t so I asked them what it was about.
There was some confusion for a second, and then they asked me, “You use YouTube, right?”
“Of course,” I said. That’s when it hit me that I have the YouTube premium thing which removes all ads. In fact, I have a family plan, including everyone at home. On the cab ride home, I kept thinking about this instance.
That’s when I realised that I’d eliminated ads wherever I can. In fact, a “lose ads” purchase is usually the first thing I do when I get a new app and if I intend to keep it for long. It became a reflex of sorts over time, perhaps.
Point being, even with the television, your exposure to ads was limited. No ads when you’re not hooked to the screen, right? Enter the smartphone with constant internet. Now imagine the mental noise you attract throughout the day.
There’s this idea that humans have not yet evolved to deal with the amount of information that we’re bombarded with today. The least we can do is reduce the absolute garbage from that information.
If you have enough things to think about or do, you’re definitely not someone who’d want to know every new ad and what concept it’s based on.
In fact, you store all of those ideas, references, and information which is practically useless. It doesn’t aid you in any way. Fun fact: every fourth story or post on Facebook and Instagram are now ads.
You can’t avoid those unless you find a workaround app or technical solution. It’s easier on the laptop/desktop than it is on the phone to get rid of ads.
Those you can avoid easily, without much hassle, usually always involve a tiny transaction. Now, the word tiny is relative, of course. Yet, if you look at the long-term benefits, you’d realise that the dollar-worth of a transaction is worth it.
A piece of your mind or peace of mind? You decide.
Own Your Mornings By Focusing Till Noon
Most phones today are shipping with some version of Digital Wellbeing features. Most of those phones also carry some version of Focus Mode.
What is Focus Mode? It’s this feature where you mark some apps as distracting, and they remain off until a specific time or until you turn it off.
For the past week or so, I’ve started keeping all social media apps—Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter—on Focus Mode, which turns on automatically at 6:00 AM. The apps are open to being used again at Noon.
Of course, I use the “pause for 5 minutes” thing to post something that I have to for the page or to reply to a specific individual, but I’ve realised, my mornings have become calmer overall despite the minor cheating myself out of it,
It’s been over a week and a half since I’ve been doing this, and I think this practice is here to stay: wake up, focus till noon, literally.
I recommend you try this too if you’re having difficulty owning your mornings. If you can’t find some sort of Focus Mode on your phone, you can probably find countless apps that do the same thing.
There’s even one that serves partly as a game to grow a forest (and plant a tree in real-life!). All you have to do is look!
Reading List: The Fall by Albert Camus
“What we call elementary truths are the ones that we discover after the rest, that’s all.“
The Fall is the sort of book that gets you hooked immediately and doesn’t let go until you reach the last word. Even then, you don’t say anything; the book will always have the last word.
To me, this is a book about a man in regret who lives a sort of double identity and is stuck in a moment in time where he realised he was not good per se but only good in the sense that he did socially acceptable things.
In other words, it is a mirror for almost every person at some point in their lives. I have over a hundred quotes from this book, and yet, the one I’ve chosen is the one I first stopped on as I was reviewing my notes.
Read this book. It won’t take more than a couple of hours, but it’ll be worth your time and life.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
Last week, I wrote about a system called the Annoyance Questionnaire. The idea is to take everyday annoyances and break them down into if-else questions until you reach a favourable resolution. I also built a flowchart making it easier to understand.
Besides that, I’ve been posting all sorts of new ideas on the Twitter account as well as the Instagram page under the highlight Quick Nudge. For example. I talked about the importance of philosophy and of finding a core value that you don’t lose until the day you die.
Make sure you are caught up on the social media channels for all the latest updates as well as the 7-by-7 content. There’s a new kind of Nudge every day.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.