Dare to Spare

Not missing out. Yes, that’s a big one. Not just as a topic, but as it is a wish that almost instantly turns into a fear.

For most of us, it is the reason why we embrace the technological wonders of our time so excessively. In a desperate attempt to be omnipresent, we stare into our phones and screens. Giving up on the reality around us, we are eager to find some validation from people we care about. We search for something different, something fresh and exciting, a change of sight and mind. We obey to the urge to check what else is going on.

We miss out, so that we don’t miss out. We try to catch the best of both worlds.

Now don’t get me wrong: This is not going to be one of those rants against the mind-numbing cult on IPhones, Swombies, Facebook and other similar platforms. I think the potential and output of these innovations is simply too great for that. Hell, how could I do that on a blog on the freaking internet and still claim any sort of backbone in the same breath?!

But I do have a point: As in my case, it helped to reconsider my way of dealing with these beautiful distractions. And maybe here is something in it for you as well. Check out these three little routines that I’ve been sticking to:

1.) Get the messenger app for Facebook. And use it as a gate

I do not go on Facebook anymore simply to browse or to check on things that I know anyways. I enter the blue deep of social frenzies only when I am addressed personally with a longer message. Because these are the things that are worth checking and that need my attention. And that’s where the portal fulfills its purpose for me.


2.) “Ten is plen”

Whenever I find myself with nothing to respond to, I allow myself a frame of ten minutes to actually catch up on some stuff. Mostly, I leave the site anyways after no more than five minutes, but I have set this rule for myself as a little treat. And mostly, there is nothing you really missed. Either way, ten minutes is plenty of time for this.


3.) “Stack in gaps”

I loath when I have my phone near and it goes ‘Bling!’ six times in one minute. Since I know that it’s one guy texting me and it disturbes me in whatever I am doing. Like playing guitar or writing a letter (which by the way still is a great feature to genuinely keep in touch with special friends).

The solution? If you have six things to tell me, write it in one message and put one blank line between each topic. Just like you see in the form of this article!

I have been doing this throughout my chats since the beginning of this year and you would be amazed how consistently people have picked up on it. Now, I get one message with three blocks and can respond accordingly. With three blocks and one message.

So here’s a challenge for you guys: Give this a try and see, if your respondent picks up on the pattern. It’s good fun. But obviously, do not tell them about the method, just text in gaps. Never announce yourself as a knight, simply behave as one.

And just like the good Ethan Hawke – from whom I sneakily adopted this last fancy phrase – these three principles have helped me to become a bit more of a knight in that sense. They are my tools to fight the time-thieves. They give me the courage to miss out, avoid frustration and a keep things less confusing.

I visited an annual summer gathering of old friends up north this weekend. During these two days, I simply had my phone up in one of the rooms and enjoyed the time in the garden with people I had not seen for months or even years. It was beautiful.

When I did check my phone, I saw that I had no messages and simply walked back down. Because you know what? I do miss out on the party you post that picture from. But you can tell me all about it over a beer. Or the phone. Or in a letter.

And you know what else? I will happily tell you all about the phantastic time I had in that garden. You see, I did not post a picture. But I will send you one, if you ask kindly. And if you know how to text politely.

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