Through our Reflections series we share nuggets of wisdom from our ongoing research for the Holstee Membership as well as personal experiences that have changed how we see the world.
August 19, 2017

Toothbrush to toothbrush.

For years, I felt like my phone ruled me — a small, buzzing, bright-faced dictator in my pocket.

I used to only check on it when it rang.

But in time, I would preemptively check it.

Then I would click into each app for the latest news and notifications.

Before long I was reaching for my phone and tapping open my email app unconsciously.

I would check my phone to feel connected and in control.

But it was just an illusion of control.

In fact, my obsession to constantly check my phone and each app was only an example of my lack of self-control.

Once I realized that my phone was more of a distraction than a tool, I tried a whole bunch of “hacks”.

  • I cleared out my home screen.
  • I deleted most of my apps.
  • I even removed my data plan for a short time.

None of these worked for me.

True, I found myself using my phone less — but I also lost the productive benefits that can be had with a smartphone.

There was one habit, however, that has stuck with me — and it has hands-down improved my quality of life and made me feel (slightly) less of a slave to my technology.

I call it toothbrush to toothbrush.

  • I don’t check my phone after I brush my teeth at night.
  • And I don’t pick up my phone until after I brush my teeth in the morning.

It’s a simple rule I have found easy to remember and easy to implement.

(Side note: I learned from Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits, that new habits are easier to develop when you tack them onto an existing habit or action in your life. Since I already brush my teeth at night and in the morning, it was easy for me to link a new behavioral habit to this action.)

With my toothbrush to toothbrush rule, it means no late-night Instagram scrolling or stressing out about work emails before going to bed.

And in the morning, it means that I don’t even confront my inbox until I have had a few moments to myself.

This small development of willpower in the morning and evening has developed into a greater sense of control over my phone throughout the day.

I have been on this schedule for a few years now and recently expanded it a bit:

  • I set my phone to “airplane mode” and keep it outside of my bedroom when I'm sleeping.
  • I don’t check my phone until I have finished my one non-negotiable habit in the morning (as mentioned in a previous Mindfully Mailed message, for me it's stretching).

And this is gonna get a bit personal, but I’m gonna go there…

  • No phone-checking on the toilet.

I actually have a lot more to say about mindfulness in the bathroom — but maybe I’ll save that for a future email 😉.

Dave Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

P.S. In our Wellness Guide, we share tips for building habits around the six dimensions of wellness — physical, spiritual, environmental, emotional, intellectual and social. Learn more about the Holstee Membership and join today →

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January 07, 2018

Life goals.

“Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We're proud of you for having them. But it's possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that's really frightening you — the shift in daily habits that would mean a re–invention of how you see yourself.” - Seth Godin I was recently reflecting on what success looks like in my life. If I were to die in a week, a year, or a few decades, what would it take for me to be able to say, “Well, I did it — I accomplished everything I wanted. I lived a...


October 17, 2017


These days, I am finding myself wrapped up in the news — devastating tragedies, one after another.

My mind is filled with questions. Why would someone do this? How could it be possible? Why does it keep happening? What can be done now? The questions don’t seem to end.

I recently reached a point at which I was



October 03, 2017

Sandwich of the future.

I love sandwiches — both making and eating them. So when I heard that there was a famous man in Syracuse, Sicily, who makes just a few dozen sandwiches a day and has a constant line out the door, my interest peaked.

Turns out he doesn’t just make sandwiches but he



September 28, 2017

Wait till you see the flowers by the pool.

September 2015 was a big month for us.

I was about to get married, Dave was turning 30, and our third co-founder, Fabian, was about to start a new project after eight years of working with us on Holstee.

So at the very last minute, we decided to go on a combo bachelor-birthday-send-off weekend trip. We booked the only place we could find that was near nature and had availability that night. We borrowed a car and made our way north up Route 28 out of New York City.

When we arrived at the bungalow we’d booked, we looked around. Without saying anything, we knew exactly what one another was thinking



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