In my ongoing journey to simplify my life, I recently partook in the Bored and Brilliant Challenge (based on the podcast series and book of the same name by Manoush Zomorodi). Because I wanted to share my daily experience with you (and because apparently, I have a lot to say on the topic), this is part two, showcasing days 4-6 of the challenge. Click here to read my experience of days 1-3.
As a refresher (and if you’re just joining us), the Bored and Brilliant Challenge is a six-day long challenge, with one challenge activity per day, designed to help you rethink and rewire your relationship to technology, specifically, your phone.
The Bored and Brilliant Challenge
Every day for six days, I did a different challenge activity. The podcast series is still available online, you can listen to it here. The Daily Challenge activities included:
- In Your Pocket
- Photo Free Day
- Delete That App
- Take a Fauxcation
- One Small Observation
- Dream House
4) Take a Fauxcation
“Craft an away message (or use one of ours). Put it up for an hour, an afternoon, or the whole day. It will make you more productive at things that matter.”
I only applied this activity to my personal phone rather than my work phone. This is because I realized that it’s not normally other people that interrupt my time and productivity – I normally do it to myself.
This challenge was pretty uneventful. I didn’t check my personal phone for 3-hours. Case closed!
5) One Small Observation
“We want you to take note of one person, object or interesting, uninventable detail you would have missed if your noise were glued to your phone.”
Day 5 was interesting because I am normally a details person. I’m the person who will always point out something random I see – like a cool bird flying overhead.
What did I notice on Day 5? Well, I had an event at work, so I had my phone literally in front of my face for a good chunk of time.
However, I did notice a couple of things after work:
- A pregnant woman walking across the street while holding her belly. It was a loving, reassuring gesture.
- Seagulls and crows having a territory battle on the roof of a building. It was hilarious.
- The cutest black bichon frise wearing an adorable sweater and peeing on a tree outside our apartment.
To be fair, I probably would have noticed these things without the Bored and Brilliant challenge. Like I said, I notice things.
6) Dream House
“It’s time to get really bored and make something creative. You might just learn something about yourself.”
Step 1: Put a pot of water on the stove. Watch it come to a boil.
Step 2: Make your dream house out of the contents of your wallet.
I’m not going to lie – this is the challenge I was most excited for. I love working with my hands. When I was in high school, if there was a hands-on option for a project, I took it.
I’ve made models of Iroquois longhouses, sewn all kinds of clothes from scratch and painted every free surface available to me. I may not be Luxe Strategist level of awesome when it comes to making things, but I do really enjoy it.
Watch Water Boil For Your Brain
So, step 1 – watching a pot of water boil. I know that sounds boring. And people say a watched pot never boils. But, a) those people are wrong because science and b) I find the process so fascinating.
It took about 10 minutes for my pot of water to boil and I was mesmerized pretty much the entire time. Watching the teeny, tiny bubbles expand and turn into progressively bigger bubbles was a beautiful experiment in growth. I honestly loved it.
Step 2- building my dream house. From the start, it was interesting to see how much garbage I had in my wallet. So, I got a mini wallet purge as an added bonus from this challenge. The task was to build your dream house, with a specific location and site in mind.
This turned out to be extremely ambitious.
After several catastrophic attempts, I settled for just making something that vaguely resembled a house, rather than my actual dream house. One thing that was interesting in the building process is that I realized I’ve always like stone walkways. Hence my change boardwalk leading up to the house.
I would call Day 6 a success in that it was a lot of fun, even though I won’t be winning any awards for my abstract design. Above all else, the challenge reminded me of how much I enjoy making things.
Final Thoughts On the Bored and Brilliant Challenge
I’ve written pretty extensively on social media and how we use technology in our lives – probably to the point where you guy are sick of it. But, as the challenge shows, our phones are pretty central to everything we do.
My first permanent foray into reducing my daily use of my phone was with Flipd. And, it’s been great. But, it doesn’t fundamentally address your relationship to your phone, it just cuts you off from it.
It’s like doing a junk food band for 30 days – awesome for your help in the short term. But, if you don’t address why you eat it on a daily basis, your eating habits might go right back on the junk food train after your ban is over.
This is where the Bored and Brilliant challenge comes in. To me, it’s the next logical step after doing a digital detox or ban. And it’s certainly a step I needed.
The week before the challenge, my phone consumption looked like this:
- 265 total usage minutes
- 278 total times unlocked
During the week of the challenge, my consumption looked like this:
- 143 total usage minutes
- 163 total times unlocked
That’s a 46% decrease in total time spent on my phone and 41% fewer times I unlocked my phone! Those are pretty impressive numbers for just 6 days of investment.
Has anything changed for me since doing the challenge?
Well, for one thing, I’m much more aware of my time on my phone. Even after all the bans I’ve done and even with this challenge, I feel like I’m still using my phone more than I would like on a daily basis.
I’ve been thinking about it like this. Think about your to-do list or your wishlist, like working out more or cooking more or taking up a new hobby. How much of that would become achievable for you if you spent less time on your phone?
I know what the answer would be more me – a lot.
If you missed last week’s episode of Tiny Bites, all about my current zero-waste conundrum, you can listen to it here.
My friend, Lisa, from Lisa’s Simple Life Experiment, just wrote a review of the Bored and Brilliant book over on her blog, you can read it here.
Image Credit: Tiny Ambitions