[First posted Jan. 21, 2013]
Here’s advice that’s counterproductive for folks like me, who produce stuff for you to consume online, but it’s essential for you: Spend regular time NOT online.
In his book Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money, Rabbi Daniel Lapin talks about the mesmerizing effect of constantly staring at a glowing screen – the unnatural light pointed directly into your eyes, and the fast-moving imagery, have a tendency to dull the senses; the pretty pictures and bright colors dull the imagination.
“In contrast, reading about ideas or things grants you the most freedom to absorb or reject,” Lapin says in his chapter about setting aside time to look into the future and make goals.
Lapin recommends at least 24 hours away from television and other glowing screens before engaging in the process of reflection and imagination.
In lieu of that for more short-term planning, I suggest postponing the flip of the switch first thing in the morning so you can start the day unplugged. I put a sticky note on my computer screen with the word “No!” (and a smiley face) on it, to remind my groggy early-morning self to reflect, read and write the daily plan before I subject myself to the LED light shining in my eyes. For longer-range planning, I also aim to have a “screen-free” day as Lapin suggests.
The goal is to remove all of the external distractions to the thought process. It’s easier to concentrate on the quiet when you envelope yourself in as much quiet as possible.