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Episode 08

The Digital Habit Lab Kickstarter Launch

What are these “cards” we keep talking about on the podcast? Join host Menka Sanghvi in a conversation with the founder of Mind over Tech as they reflect on their personal experience of testing out six digital habit lab cards that they’ve found really useful. And, find out how you can get your own pack on Kickstarter!

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About the guest

Jonathan Garner is the founder of Mind over Tech and the creator of the Digital Habit Lab cards!

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The Digital Habit Lab card deck is a collection of 50 experiments to help you disrupt your digital habits and take control of your tech.

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Episode notes

Menka and Jonathan discuss the genesis of the Digital Habit Lab cards, and how they are all interconnected. They agree to discuss a handful of cards that have been particularly inspiring for them, and to connect their reflections to various points raised in other previous episodes of this podcast season on the theme of intention.

Jonathan's Picks:

Curate your media feeds: The act of curating is necessarily a creative one, and that was one of Jonathan’s main takeaways from this whole season of the podcast - any creative act gives you a sense of agency. Menka describes how apps and artificial intelligence can (surprisingly perhaps) help with this. They both also touch on the importance of “randomness” in terms of serendipity and coming across unexpected content.

Pomodoro Technique: Jonathan really benefits from this, but also finds it quite challenging. What he really likes about this is that in taking short breaks throughout the day he’s so much more “in his body” by the end of the day, and this leads the conversation to the deeper insight that physical movement is so important to balance our digital lives.

Delay your inbox until the afternoon: Jonathan starts by saying that this isn’t always practical, but at times when he has a project that he’s working on - particularly one that involves depth of thinking - he’s found this experiment really useful. Each incoming message has the potential of disrupting our focus. Menka speaks about how using your email signature or status can help manage people’s expectations and relieve our own anxiety about not responding quickly enough.

Menka's Picks:

Observe yourself in others: Menka describes one of her insights from observing her toddler’s interaction with physical space. This has led her to become much more intentional with her own environment, for example deciding how visible her phone should be, what windows and tabs she keeps open etc. In this context Jonathan mentions that if you want to bring in a new habit you need to make it obvious, make it attractive, and satisfying (referencing James Clear book Atomic Habits)

Fully Embrace Boredom: Menka’s been trying to go for walks without doing anything on her phone! This experiment helped her realise that boredom, for her, is usually triggered by an underlying comfort such as loneliness or stress, and that the phone is usually her go-to way of responding to that in an easy, superficial way, without necessarily satisfying the deeper need. Jonathan mentions that if you’re working on a puzzle and your phone is not in the room, even if it’s not turned on, it impairs our ability to solve that puzzle.

Volume up in meetings: We often hide behind our devices for various reasons, but by making our intentions clearer - for example to say out our “Right now I’m going to spend time with you and I’m not expecting an important message or call” we are less able to do that. Menka realised that one of the reasons she does this is because she needs a break every so often in group settings, but that it can be more straightforward and mutually beneficial to be upfront about that need, rather than using phones as an excuse.

In the wrap-up, Jonathan talks a little more about the Kickstarter. Menka says that the next season is due to launch in a few months time, but in the meantime the best way to keep in touch is the Mind Over Tech newsletter.

Resources Mentioned

  1. Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  2. Research about phone proximity and puzzle solving
  3. Mind over Tech newsletter

Get in touch

Send us feedback, suggestions, or questions about anything you’ve heard or would like to hear:

The Digital Habit Lab Podcast is produced by Menka Sanghvi and Jonathan Garner. Thanks to Jack Fletcher for audio engineering chops and music.

Show Contributors

  • Scott Riley
  • Menka Sangvhi