League of Wildness,
I’m writing this after spending 5 days in the wild with my 4 year old daughter. It’s been several months since I’ve had the opportunity to disconnect for that long and it felt…wild. It was on the third and fourth day where I started to really notice that I was no longer ruminating on the future, but instead was fully immersed in the moment. I had honestly forgotten what that felt like.
When I traveled to Vietnam to visit our manufacturing partner for the Ruck Backpack I had my iPhone, but I did not have international cell service. I had wifi in my room, but was forced to navigate the city by map. Interestingly, during all of my international travel starting in 2010, I’ve never had cell service and thus had to navigate the “old school” way.
Was it challenging and inconvenient at times? For sure.
Did it make it fun and adventurous? HELL YEAH!
The lack of 24/7 connectivity also made the present more interesting. I noticed I was much more absorbed in the task immediately in front of me and it was those misadventures that make the best stories to this day.
Since reading Four Thousand Weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about time and how I spend it. My smartphone is great at telling me how I’m spending at least some of my time and when I look at the metrics - I’m not too happy with myself.
As of the writing of this article I’ve spent 3 hours and 25 minutes on social media this week. And that’s only 5 days! That means I’m averaging 41 minutes/day on social media.
When I consider all the other activities I’d rather be doing I feel a combination of anger, sadness, regret, and loathing at how much time I allow to be essentially stolen from me.
Remember - there are extremely smart people getting paid exorbitant amounts of dollars to hack your neurochemistry and steal your attention. It’s an extremely difficult battle to fight - let alone win.
But…we are the League of Wildness - so we will fight.
I wanted to call myself out first and foremost to demonstrate that I’m right there with you in the trenches.
I also wanted to address a recurring theme I keep hearing from you about time being the biggest obstacle to your health and wellness.
Again - I’m in the trenches with you. I’ve got two kids under 5 years old, a mortgage, and a business.
The question I’d encourage you to answer for yourself: Do you really not have as much time as you perceive?
Or, could you simply reallocate your time in a way that better aligns with your values?
Have you checked your screen time breakdown recently? I can get in a legit workout in 41 minutes and so can you. I want that time back.
Maybe you are still getting in “enough” exercise, but could you use that 41 minutes to play with your kids? Walk the dog? Stretch? Make a meal from scratch? Call a friend? Just walk and let your mind wander?
I swear I’d heard of an app that basically showed how much of your life you’d spend on social media at your current pace. I searched - hard - and just can’t find it, but if you do know - please send it my way.
I did find several articles featuring various apps that claim to help manage your time on social media. I myself have used the built-in feature on the iPhone where you can set a time limit for specific apps, but it never really worked.
As a Wildland Firefighter, using fire to fight fire was highly effective. I’m not so sure fighting tech with tech will work in the same way.
I believe a healthy eating practice starts at the grocery store. If you don’t have Oreos in your home, you cannot eat them. Mayne this is analogous to tech?
I wish I had a better solution for the tech addiction, but the best I can come up with is to make more barriers to its accessibility. I’ve heard Tim Ferriss talk about simply deleting social media apps from his phone and only accessing them from a laptop/desktop. Seems like it could work, but I feel like the problem is more insidious.
I also recognize the irony in this article. I’m currently paying META way more than I want to be to run ads on their platform. Furthermore, we host our wild gym League of Wildness on a private Facebook group. The LoW is the best online community - period. But maybe it’d be even better if you didn’t have to constantly fend off the mind hackers scheming for your attention.
I’ve also looked into some private, custom community solutions that would NOT be hosted on any of the big social networks and would be fully controlled by wild gym. The features are solid, but they’re expensive and it would likely require a fee to be a member.
Bringing everything back around - if you are struggling with your health and fitness and/or want to continue to improve - you MUST take an honest look at how you are spending your time.
Kim and I have talked a ton about habit tracking and she has a solid system she’s designed for herself. If you think screen time is stealing time from your health and fitness practice - start tracking. Luckily - your phone is already tracking your screen time for you. All you have to do is take a look. I suggest starting with a weekly review of your screen time contrasted with your health and fitness practice.
And remember - consistency is the most important factor to health and fitness.
Make the time.