A bhijit (Bobby) Bose, the head of WhatsApp India is a gracious man whose easy smile belies a sharp analytical mind. Having known him socially, I approached him last week with a crushing problem. I wanted him – the head of WhatsApp India – to help me conquer my WhatsApp addiction. While the irony of the question didn’t escape him, he gamely texted me on WhatsApp naturally: “My main advice (that works for me when I can do it) is to try NOT to look at WhatsApp for the first hour after waking up. I drop the boys off to the school bus and (rarely but sometimes) go for a run before picking up the phone and checking messages.”
Bobby’s advice echoes what productivity experts have been saying for years. Don’t check your smartphone in the early hours of the day. Answer emails in the afternoon. My morning routine is the opposite of Bobby’s advice. I roll out of bed, reach for my phone and check messages. What if the world has fallen apart while I sleep? What if Trump is impeached?
Smartphone addiction has been written about a lot. WhatsApp has taken it to a whole new level. It seems to be the preferred mode of communication for most Indians. My tailor sends blouse patterns on it. The vegetable vendor sends a photo of the neem flowers I love when they appear on the market. I conduct conversations with four different family groups on it.
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