LifeProductivity | 7 Min Read

#7 - Busy Bandwagons and Infinity Pools

In this edition, I discuss the concepts of Busy Bandwagons' and 'Infinity Pools' and how they influence our lives...

Hey Friends 👋

I hope you're doing well and have had a great week?

This week, I wanted to talk about Infinity Pools and Busy Bandwagons, two ways in which we spend countless hours of our days that prevent us from working on the things that truly matter.

I came across these terms while reading Make Time: How To Focus On What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky.

If you're anything like I was when I first heard these terms, you may be wondering what the hell Jake and John are talking about, so let me explain quickly.

Busy Bandwagons are like emails, meetings, calls, texts and more. Essentially, anything immediately in front of you that commands your attention belongs in the Busy Bandwagon category.

An Infinity Pool is easier to define, if you scroll to refresh and get new content, it's an Infinity Pool. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a whole host of mobile games are all examples of them.

As they talk about in the book, when our time is not being consumed by the Busy Bandwagons, our time is filled by Infinity Pools.

Or, to put it more simply and quote the book:

With the average person spending four-plus hours a day on their smartphone and another four-plus hours watching TV shows, distraction is quite literally a full-time job.

Before starting the book, I was already semi-aware of the time my phone was taking up by using apps like Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube but the book highlighted this problem even more.

I managed to shake my dependency on Reddit by uninstalling it and, to be honest, I haven't missed it.

But, now the question remains what do I do about Twitter and YouTube?

Twitter, I'll come back to in a second but YouTube I realise is how I spend my time when I have no priorities or tasks at hand, it's easy to spend 30 minutes, an hour or more just watching and refreshing it to find something new to sink into.

I guess this is why Google has invested millions if not more into the design and development of it. But, I now realise that it shares a resemblance to Reddit. I imagine I'm not alone in this but I only consume YouTube on my phone so in there lies the solution.

In the book, Jake talks about how he was playing with his kids and one of his kids turns to him and asks "Dad, why are looking at your phone?" Jake goes on to tell us that he worked to be more productive so he could get home in time for dinner and be with / play with his kids more. But, yet he still gets pulled into the Busy Bandwagons of emails and the Infinity Pools of the internet and social media, so what did he do?

He uninstalled the applications from his phone. He added barriers and removed the thing that smartphone manufacturers strived for simplicity.

This is the solution I want to take with YouTube, I watch it on my phone so why not just remove it from my phone?

The issue is I can't. 😂

Not because I don't want to remove it but rather Google won't let me uninstall it from my Pixel.

But, don't worry I have a plan B, this is the very aptly named Digital Wellbeing app. Using this app, I can set timers and essentially disable applications that use more than their timer.

So, now after 30 minutes of YouTube being open on my phone, it will be disabled until the next day. It means I can still scratch my itch for wasting time watching videos while still forcing myself to not spend too much time in the Infinity Pool.

I will admit though, it is all too easy to adjust the timer so I do need to rely on willpower a bit which will be fun...

Now we need to deal with Twitter.

I love Twitter, I really do. The Tech Twitter Community has been awesome and I've made some amazing friends throughout my journey there. Without turning this into some sort of crazy love letter, I'll keep it short and say I wish I met them earlier because they have been truly amazing to me and helped me through a lot.

However, as much as I love Twitter and the things that have come from it, I need to recognise that at the end of the day it's still an Infinity Pool and one where it's very easy to spend hours of your day without thinking about it.

That's why I'm going to trial being very deliberate with my time on Twitter, only spending 30 minutes every evening checking Twitter and no more using the Digital Wellbeing app to control it like YouTube.

You may ask why not uninstall it like mentioned in the book. Honestly, I'm tempted but with features like talking in spaces only available on mobile I have to keep it or I'd only end up re-downloading it anyway.

But, don't worry this isn't a breakup with Twitter, just a restructuring of our relationship. My plan is by restricting my time on Twitter, it'll give me more time to work on things. And by having more time to work on things, I'll have more things to Tweet about and talk to people about.

In conclusion, I think we can learn a lot from this book and from time to time it pays to have an honest reflection with oneself and how we are spending our time.

Without getting morbid we do only have so much time available to us so we need to be selective of what we give our attention to. I'm hoping by limiting my time in Busy Bandwagons and Infinity Pools, I can spend more time focusing on work that drives me towards my goals.

I wish you a great week ahead and if you want to catch up, feel free to reply to this email and let's chat.

Thank you for reading,


🏃‍♂️ What I've Been Doing

This week I decided to accept a package to voluntarily leave my role as a Frontend React developer due to office closures in my location. It wasn't a great thing to go through but the terms are quite favourable. If my application for it is accepted, I get an extended notice period until the end of next year (31/12/22 would be my official last day).

This means I have officially just over 400 days to make my dream of being a business owner come true and build PhyType into a profitable business I can live off.

So for the last week, this has been what I've been working on. Designing and wireframing the new redesigned PhyType website targetting a new niche that I'm passionate about.

I can't wait to share the finished product with you but in the meantime make sure you're following me on Twitter to get updates as they happen. 😀

💬 Quote Of The Week

“the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. The leading causes of disease and death in developed nations—diseases that are crippling health-care systems, such as heart disease, obesity, dementia, diabetes, and cancer—all have recognized causal links to a lack of sleep.”

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

📺 What I've Enjoyed

This week I've enjoyed quite a few things, first of all, we have the book that this newsletter is based on.

Make Time: How To Focus On What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky.

Then we have a few podcasts which I've enjoyed listening to and learnt a surprising amount from:

The Joe Rogan Experience: #1527 - David Blaine

The Joe Rogan Experience: #1733 - Snoop Dogg

Today, Explained - The Future of Work: Retirement should be fun

And, for once I've got some Netflix recommendations.

Two episodes I enjoyed from The Mind, Explained is "How to Focus" and "Creativity". If you get the opportunity and have a Netflix subscription I recommend checking them out.

🎬 This Week's Content

In the spirit of my restructuring, I've spent less time this week on social media and streaming. I haven't created any content purposefully for YouTube, Twitch or Social Media this week.

I did talk about me leaving my role on Twitter, check that out in this tweet.

Redudancy from my role tweet

As mentioned above, I'm doubling down on my efforts to build PhyType into a successful business so I finished off the redesign of the website and shared the Figma screenshot on Twitter in the tweet below.

Now, I just need to make it. 😅

Completeted Figma Design for PhyType's new website tweet

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