A few mins to spare with my phone

Transforming Idle Scrolls into Meaningful Moments

In today’s world, the moments we find ourselves waiting, whether for an appointment or a friend, often lead us to one common destination: our phones. This habit, almost ingrained in our modern existence, presents a peculiar paradox. On the one hand, these devices are portals to an endless world of information and connection; on the other, they can be colossal time wasters, especially when used mindlessly.

I’ve been there, in those moments of waiting, when reaching for my phone felt as natural as breathing. Each swipe and scroll through social media or news feeds seemed inconsequential, but collectively, these moments amounted to a significant chunk of time. Time that, in retrospect, could have been spent far more productively. This realization hit me during one such waiting period. I was torn between the ease of losing myself in the digital world and the nagging voice in my head reminding me of my extensive to-do list.

This is where the cycle begins: the automatic reaching for the phone, the aimless scrolling, and the eventual feeling of unfulfillment. We convince ourselves that these short spans of time aren’t suitable for meaningful tasks, using our absence from our desks or workspaces as an excuse. Yet, the back of our minds knows better. We understand that these brief moments, if accumulated, could be transformed into something more substantial.

On one such occasion, I decided to break this cycle. Instead of surrendering to the habitual scroll, I opened my notes app and began to write. It was an experiment in using these snippets of time for something creative and productive. This blog post is a product of those accumulated minutes, a testament to what can be achieved when we decide to use our time wisely.

The process wasn’t about creating perfectly structured sentences or well-organized paragraphs. It was about capturing thoughts, ideas, and reflections in their rawest form. This approach not only made my waiting time productive but also surprisingly enjoyable. It became a challenge to see how much I could write or plan in these brief intervals.

In our hands, we hold devices with immense power and potential. Our smartphones can be tools for learning, creativity, and organization. Yet, so often, we allow them to become mere vessels of distraction and procrastination. It’s a realization that calls for a change in how we perceive and utilize these moments of waiting.

As I continued this practice over several days, I noticed a shift in my perception of time and productivity. Those few minutes, once considered too insignificant for anything meaningful, now held potential. They became opportunities for personal growth, learning, and reflection.

This shift in perspective about using our smartphones during brief moments of waiting brought another realization – the potential for human connection. In a technology-dominated era, face-to-face interactions are becoming increasingly rare. We often forget the value of a simple conversation with a stranger or an acquaintance sitting next to us. For someone like me, an introvert, this idea initially seemed daunting. The comfort of the digital screen can be a hard habit to break. Yet, I understood the importance of fostering real connections in a digitally saturated world.

So, I set myself another challenge: to engage in conversation whenever possible, instead of defaulting to my phone. This approach was not just about reducing screen time; it was about rediscovering the art of conversation, of connecting with others in the most human way possible. The experience was eye-opening. Conversations with strangers led to fascinating stories and insights, broadening my understanding of the world and its diverse inhabitants.

Combining these two practices – using waiting time for creative or productive tasks and engaging in real conversations – began to alter my daily routine. It transformed moments that were once lost to the digital void into opportunities for growth and connection. It’s a journey I'm still on, continually learning to balance the digital and the real, the internal thoughts and the external interactions.

In summarizing this experience, I want to emphasize a few key points. First, we often underestimate the power of a few spare minutes. These moments can be harnessed for creativity, learning, or planning. Second, our smartphones, while powerful tools, should not dictate how we spend every spare moment. And finally, the value of human interaction cannot be overstated. In our technology-driven lives, real conversations can be both refreshing and enriching.

This is the change I am trying to implement in my life, and I encourage you to try it too. Whether it’s using your phone to jot down thoughts or ideas, learning something new, or simply striking up a conversation with someone nearby, these small actions can have a profound impact on how we view and use our time.

If my experience resonates with you, or if you have different views, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Engaging in this dialogue, learning from each other, is yet another way we can connect and grow. Thank you for reading, and let’s continue to make the most of the time we have.

-Your Friend, Randy

Randy Thiessen December 22, 2023
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