Zone Out

So this is a topic that I think about all the time. 

A professor of mine introduced it to me in the beginning of school this year and ever since then I think about it every. single. day. We were talking about the effect technology has on the cognitive mind (basically how phones kind of suck for our mental health). He told me that he finds people stuck in this "state of phone boredom" all the time. Throughout the duration of the conversation the term Micro Boredom was deemed correct for this new mental state we were identifying.

It's this idea of "MICRO BOREDOM". 

Google has no definition of it, but I pieced a few items together and found that we can best describe it (in real terms) as "Monetary Boredom" which runs similar to just "short-term-boredom".

And everything I'm about to say is going to apply to each and every person reading this, and I want to make it clear that it applies to me in every aspect. 

I'm a complete victim of it and I catch myself stuck so deep in it so many times during the day.


Now lets go into your memory. Short term, of course, because when we were ten there were no iPhones and the there certainly was no Twitter Feed on the T-Mobile Sidekick.

How many times today did you go on your phone to do something besides 

  • Compose / Reply To A Text
  • Compose / Answer A Phone call
  • Check the status of / answer an e-mail
  • Post a tweet / instagram photo / snapchat story
  • Play music
  • Snooze / Set an alarm
  • Watch a video

I'm going to guess a bunch. Maybe you don't know it, but it was probably a bunch. 

Think about it.

For me, it's something like 20-30 different times during a day.

That's TWENTY different incidents where I was looking at my phone and doing nothing at all. I had no direction with my actions, I had no reason to be on there, I was just "checking stuff out".

Most times, I'm zoned in.

That's a term I thought of last year. I used to get zoned in really bad when I was in highschool. I think part of it was because I was posting so much and I always wanted to see the instant gratification of people "liking" stuff or retweeting it or whatever. 

 But being zoned in is when you're in an enviornment, but in you're phone.

Gosh, the worst place it happens is in class.

For me, I can be sitting in class, fully attentive listening to everything the teacher is saying. Then I look at my phone, unlock it, and zone in.

As I open up apps and start scrolling down the feed, this mental wall goes up and I no longer listen to my teacher. They could be talking about me and I'd have no clue. I'm just zoned into the screen, focusing on what is going on in the feed. Most times I'm not learning anything, I'm just looking at what people posted.

I used to catch myself zoned in around friends. It was bad for a while. I could be with ten people all sitting in a room, but if i'm on my phone zoned in, i'm not even in the room. I'm not participating in conversation, I'm not enjoying the presence of my friends, I'm just zoned into my phone and zoned out of the enviornment. 

Then one day, I realized all of this, and I stopped.

I think the big realization point for me was when I started recognizing it in others.

I realized that I was wasting hours of my day just scrolling aimlessly. I wasn't even learning anything. I was just scrolling. I thought to myself 

If I put the amount of time into reading, writing, and designing as I do into scrolling on my phone, I'd be a master by now at every task

So then I just did it. I learned to catch myself in the act, and whenever i was scrolling aimlessly, I just stopped, put my phone down, and opened up a book. I read real print and informative information. And I processed it better, too. If I spend 10 minutes scrolling and 10 minutes reading, out of those 20 minutes I will remember the main points of the book that I read and I'll remember noting from the scrolling. 

Like bro get off your phone and look up, the world is infront of you and it's so pretty. You're missing out! 


This is what you people look like when you're zoned in. Having no-fun and learning nothing new. Just scrolling the days away. 

This is what you people look like when you're zoned in. Having no-fun and learning nothing new. Just scrolling the days away. 

Have you ever gone out to dinner with all of your friends who are teenagers, and there's a point where each and every one of you is on your phone, zoned into your own individual worlds?

Well guess what, you're not really out to dinner. You're out to a restaurant in a seat, but you don't care about your friends and they don't care about you, you're all quiet and you're all scrolling. You're not even talking about what you're looking at on the phones. You're all just scrolling.


I'll never forget this:

I was on a business-trip-like-vacation for DECA my junior year in Florida at Disney and my statistics teacher took me and 9 friends out to eat dinner.

We sat down and he said

"Ok, everyone take your phones out. Put them on loud. Now hand me them real fast"

So we did. He went from having one phone to eleven. 

We sat at a long table, but not long enough so that people couldn't talk to one another.

He stacked them up in the middle of the table. Face down. Every single one of them.

"Now, we're going to enjoy ourselves. And we're going to talk like real humans. And we're going to smile and we're going to have a dinner that we'll never forget. Why? Because no one will be scrolling on their phones. We'll all be right here. In real life. In this exact moment"


And guess what. It was the most conversation-filled dinner of my life. 

Why? Because not a single one of us had anything to "check" or anywhere to "scroll" or any photos to post or any thing to distract us.


Try that sometime. Seriously.

Go out to eat with your friends and stack the phones. Whoever caves and has to get to their phone has to pay the bill. Whoever doesn't, well, thank me later by buying a t shirt or something cool. 

But you'll be happier. And you'll learn to enjoy your time with your friends. 


I started to notice that when I was with friends, they were just always on their phones. It was like I wasn't even with them. It became sad and I just sat back and watched. I tried not to point it out but it just ended up getting to me, time and time again. So I would just put their phones down and make them hangout with real life me. 


And I do this all the time, still. When I'm on the train, I'm constantly scrolling and checking in to see what my friends all over the world are doing. I'm making plans and texting people and I'm replying to emails and reading what you guys have to say online and I'm taking care of stuff. 


And sometimes I just find myself content with scrolling. Mostly because I'm always engaging in the content, but sometimes I'm just doing it to do it. 

But think about it sometime. I bet that after you finish reading this, you'll notice it all the time. I hope it drives you crazy, too!

When you're with your friends, just look at how many of them are zoned in. Watch what they do (or what they miss out on) when their eyes are locked to their phone screen.

Look at how they miss out on what is in front of them.

They just sit there and scroll. They don't listen to what's going on in the friend group, because it's just like in class when the mental wall gets put up and the cognitive awareness drops to an all time low. They just look like the girl on the red couch.

Look at how you're experiencing so much more than them in that exact moment.

Then realize when you do this, too. Then think about ways to cut it. 

The less time you spend aimlessly scrolling, the more time you have to live life in the now. 

And summer is coming, there's not a single moment you should be wasting scrolling twitter when you could be outside with your friends smiling and making memories. 

So just think about how bad it is to be Zoned In.


And just sit back and Zone Out.

Try to think about it and catch yourself when you're scrolling and say "am I really going to utilize this content, or am I just zoned in?". If you're just zoned in, put your phone down. Just drop it. Put if on the floor or in your bag. 


For me, when I do homework I shut my phone off and leave it in my bag. When I have it near me, I end up zoning into the phone so often and escaping my homework just for a quick scroll. You do it, too. Don't try to play me I know you better than that. It's like a drug, when you think about it. When older people get stressed out or bored, they often go and smoke. For us kids, when we get bored or stressed we just open up instagram and scroll and look at everything on the feed as an escape. It's that Social Media Zoned In Moment.


Hey, seriously, when you're in class, listen to the teacher. You know how we feel about learning. We hope that you learn as much as you possibly can. And by sitting in your phone all class, you're not learning. Trust me. You're scrolling. 

I did it a ton in high school too. It happens. Just recognize it and fix it. Be the best learner you can be so that you can translate that to being the best thinker and creative you can possibly be. You get me? 

If I had my phone out when I wrote this, it would have taken me twice as long. And it wouldn't have been as good because as I wrote it I'd be thinking about the stuff I scrolled past. 


So like I said before, just zone out sometimes and experience life in the now

Capture what you want from time to time, but just make sure you're doing as much as you possibly can with your life, and try to just scroll a little bit less. 


If you liked this article and you finished it, comment below and tell me how it helped you.

And if you ever go out and make everyone put their phones in the middle, comment and tell me how it goes! 

Ok awesome just trying to make you guys more intelligent people and when you get to the real world you're going to be like wow no one wastes time on their phone so you might as well should crack that habit early on !

chris brown1 Comment