Digital Declutter Challenge-10 Days In


Digital declutter during weekends has had a completely different vibe for me compared to work days, where weekends so far have been easier for disconnection versus being at the office in front of a tempting computer screen most of the day.

As the work week started I found myself missing my personal email the most. It turns out I am addicted to the stimulation it provides, even more than Facebook because, surprisingly, I hardly miss the latter.
My personal email is mainly made up of favorite blogs subscriptions, amazon deals and make-up and kids’ clothes deals, in addition to linkedin updates. As a result, my initial rule of checking it during the weekend for 30 minutes only could not stand, so I amended it to checking it daily, only on desktop, for 5 to 10 minutes while the timer is set and running. I also started unsubscribing to many commercial newsletters because they are crowding my email that I can’t find the important communications fast.

I have also modified the Netflix rule where I can now watch 3, not 2, episodes of Netflix a week. I did this because I mostly watch comedy series which usually take 20 minutes per episode and that would have finished my allowance in 4 days only according to my 10 minute rule which was too extreme for me.

As a matter of fact, minimizing streaming entertainment has been the most challenging for me, 10 minutes a day only is not easy, where I mentioned before that I already have this particular habit of enjoying evening meals while watching something, mostly comedy, on Netflix. I used to think of this time as my mental break, so it is going to be interesting to see what will happen in the coming 20 days as I change my relationship to entertainment , not that it is harmful or anything, but I do believe that depending on something this much must be unhealthy for us and a red flag we need to take care of.

During digital declutter I also noticed I’ve been missing local news, because I barely listen to any radio show and never buy newspapers and Facebook and twitter were my sources. Since I’m not using them now I decided I need to stay more tuned to morning radio shows to keep up to speed with local or even international news that are relevant to us and maybe read news online once in a while.

I also happen to love music apps, like anghami, and I didn’t even consider them in my digital declutter challenge. However, I noticed a funny thing about the human brain; we always want a way out. So, skipping songs and looking for the perfect song or playlist has become my new thing while working or while doing house chores. Our brains got so used to entertainment that even music apps could be addictive and time wasting. This is not a totally finding, I experienced this in my reading fasting last year.
Don’t worry though, I have not set rules for those apps during digital declutter. It’s just about mindfulness of the exit strategies we implement to avoid the present moment.

It’s been indeed a very interesting challenge so far, and I wonder what more insights I would enjoy finding out during the remainder of the month.

Stay tuned.

Digital Declutter Challenge-10 Days In

The Gap

the gap
photo credit:

I have my own perfect routines and habits, the great friendships, the right books, the needed amount of food and sleep everyday and life feels good. Then the weekend is here and I feel like a fraud. All I’ve been preaching is exactly that, preaching, while reality begs to differ.

The biggest painful gap I feel is in parenting.

Sometimes I wish my kids would slow down growing up until I close this gap between where I am and where I want to be, but they are not paying attention to my wishes. They are right on track with their own business of growing up and becoming who they need to be regardless of my progress. How dare they? I’m still not ready.

I can’t control my temper all the time, I still lose my patience whenever they say that horrible two-letter word to me. I take their answer personally while I grieve the not so old days when parenting was a one-way street of care-giving and beautiful, almost predictable, routines.

I fear that now they will know me for who I really am. A mess. A work in progress. I fear they would believe the lie that my happiness rests on them well-behaving and restraining from following their spontaneous exploring nature.

It is a lie indeed. My happiness is up to me. They are perfect and it’s time I allow them to really be who they came here to be; my masters. Yes, my masters are here to point out to me where I am still an impatient control freak better than anyone could. No one gets to see me up close like them anyway. Their job is to teach me how I am still triggered by the most trivial things like their clothes getting dirty from the whiteboard marker they enjoy using. Then I notice my ill reaction and make amends with them. They get to see how humans make up for their mistakes by apologizing, asking for forgiveness and starting over. And what do you know? I am actually parenting them in the midst of my non-readiness.

Maybe I will never be ready, maybe this mess is what they exactly need too as life is messy. Maybe seeing me start over and improving with time will help them believe they can conquer any character defect they might have if they are present enough and reflect on their own actions to do better next time. It’s in fact possible that feeling how my love for them extends any mistake, big or small, will have them believe in their own worth and lovability just because they are here on earth, beyond any right or wrong actions. It’s the most basic need we have had since we took our first breath. It is my lifetime mission as their parent, so help me God.

The Gap


Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

الكلمة المفضلة حالياّ عندي هي “افتراضات” .

هي طريقة ننظر بها للعالم ولذواتنا ونحسب أنها واقع وحقيقية ونأخذها بعين الاعتبار عند اتخاذ قراراتنا. هي أحياناً تحررنا ولكن على الأغلب تحبسنا و تحدّ من جرأتنا وحركتنا. تبقى كذلك إلى أن نضعها تحت مجهر التساؤل والشك .

لكن ما الفرق بين المعتقدات و الافتراضات؟

Continue reading “افتراضات”


Reading Fasting- Update

Photo credit: Daria Shevtsova

I extended my reading fasting resolution for another month upon my coach’s recommendation since she believes I did not commit 100% in January by reading articles and listening to few podcasts here and there. That’s why I chose in February to push myself by applying it much more strictly and this is how:

  • Not reading Seth Godin‘s daily posts that have been a source of delight and motivation during my working day since 2009. This month, instead, I just enjoy reading the email titles of his posts and imagining what they could be about. I’m playing with idea of acting as if the titles are writing prompts for me where I create my own post with the same title of his.
  • Not opening any facebook or twitter article links (very challenging believe me).
  • Minimun checking of my personal email because the inbox is full of content and awesome articles as I subscribed to many over the years. Turning off notifications of course helped so much.
  • Not shopping for books on amazon nor checking the deal of the day on Kindle and Audible.

I miss reading some of my favorite newsletters like The daily stoic by Ryan Holiday, 5-bullet friday by Tim Ferris and Brainpickings newsletter by Maria Popova. Funny thing I noticed, however, is that I thought I would be deprived of content and new inspiration during this period; the truth is I was not, because I did not quit social media. I was proud to discover I really refined my timeline over the years and the algorithms of Facebook are working to show me posts from my top influencers who in return are doing what I love and follow them for by sharing the most beautiful quotes and pieces of wisdom to which I have very easy access during my usual social media daily meals.

I also noticed that sticking to my morning routine of journaling and spiritual practice is what truly keeps me sharp and self motivated. It turned out my discipline is my secret.

I still have 2 weeks of no books consumption to go and I will optimize my reading fasting even futher as below:

  • Limit my social media consumption using some useful tools like appblock which limits my time on each app I select and blocks it when I reach the maximim time allowed.
  • Control my semi-daily netflix guilty pleasure by enjoying the 20 minutes I give my brains to shut down and be done with it by not clicking the next episode.
  • Be more intentional about the books I will read this year. I would love to read books about stoicism, habits and happiness, customer experience (job related), personal finance, parenting, side business and entrepreneurship. Of course I’ll leave room to immedialty add to my library any new book by my favorite authors like Seth Godin, Gretchen Rubin or Brené Brown.
  • Focus on studing PMP which is another goal I am trying to achieve in the first quarter of this year.

Interested to have more observations on the impact of this temporary project on my life. It has been very exciting time and I now believe it was exactly what I needed; the self-permission to just hit pause.

Reading Fasting- Update

Reading Fasting

I wrote about January’s goal of not consuming any books for a whole month and attempting to write more and share what I already know.

How has this been going 23 days in?

  • I did not 100% commit to it in terms of articles because I kept reading those albeit not more than one a day. I also tried to avoid “saving for later” habit which I think is another way I clutter the information sources in my life and never really return to those resources. I click and read or I close. If I don’t manage to read it once I opened it, I may google it later if it was interesting enough or it will find me somehow later (trust algorthims and reposting habits of authors).
  • I did not commit to it 100% in terms of podcasts beacuse I listened to a few. One of them was about parenting a 4-year-old by the awesome Janet Lansbury and the other was an interview between 2 of my top authors and habits influencers Tim Ferriss and Gretchen Rubin. I enjoyed them and learned a lot.
  • I did not buy any kindle or audiobook, a habit I really enjoy; especially the searching part before purchase, looking up new titles, then related titles, then amazon reviews and goodreads reviews, and of course the daily book deals. One thing that really helped curb this habit was unsubscribing to the emails about daily book deals, as much as I loved those emails!
  • On the other hand, I listed some of the books I am interested to read or get this year. I am thinking about dividing them into categories like spiritual, financial, start-up business, coaching, career related books. I will let you know how this goes. There will be a room for just for fun reading trust me. However, I love the idea of being more purposeful about the topics I select and not jut follow the hot books of the year.
  • I am creating a list of songs that pump me up. It’s been a while since I listened to this many songs and discovered some “new” ones. My favorite these days is Thunder by Imagine Dragons
  • I disocvered the uneasiness of just listening to random playlists or radio shows. Audiobooks while driving were a relief from this uneasiness and from looking for THE right song. They were like an addiction in their own right and I had withdrawal symptoms. An addiction I miss. This tendency to change the radio station or skip the song on my app is indeed some indication of habitual resistance of reality as it happens, that I am dicovering and noticing. I refuse to accept what is served so I attempt to escape it. Without this January goal I would not have caught it. Do you do that too? We all change songs I know but how often do you do that to ensure you have the prefect ride instead of just being present and open to what’s next?

These are my updates about the challenge. I’m most grateful that I revived this blog by writing more.

Would I go back to reading in February? Still have not decided as I also started studying for a certification in March and putting reading on hold came along as a temporary advantage.

Have a great day everyone.

Reading Fasting