I’m trying to work in tech whilst not being consumed by it. After a few failed attempts, I have planned and prepared to unplug.
Week 1 (to 2020-10-04)
Clearly, this was an odd week to choose to unplug. It is the week of SQL Bits and being part of the helper team, I’ve spent a huge amount of time online at an online conference! I’m a huge fan of the conference and actively contribute to the social side of it nevertheless, I’ve made conscious changes to how I’ve used my phone and it has certainly made a difference.
I have found myself regularly checking a blank screen. During planning I stumbled on a setting called “pickup to wake” which is labelled as a convenience feature, but it essentially wakes up your lock screen as you pick up your phone. This has helped form an impulse to regularly check my phone for any new activity even when silent. Any new notification consequently kicks off more screen time (I’ve got a text! How about mail whilst I’m here? How about LinkedIn?). With this feature switched off, I’ve caught myself impulsively picking up my phone and then staring at a blank screen. Rather than waking it, the phone has just gone back in my pocket, I expect that this impulse will dissipate over the coming weeks.
This week is W40 and whilst there were some noticeable improvements during the previous week, stats have dropped off further this week. My screen time has fallen off a cliff in the last two weeks and the amount of idle time (non app time) on my phone has reduced as well.
My phone is not interrupting me as much, notifications have reduced by about 50% in a week but I expect this figure to reduce even further as there have been lots of SQL Bits sessions scheduled into my calendar this week. There are a number of notifications that are reminders for regular routine activities, I might have a cap on how much I can reduce notifications. I’ll consider this further after my first true week (next week). My pickups haven’t improved as dramatically and for the first time since I started capturing my stats my pickups outweighs my notifications which is an odd one. The next target will be to get pickups back under notifications.
My screentime has been skewed since I’ve spent far more time on my work laptop at the conference. I’ve intentionally not tracked my tablet or laptop because I’ve set them up for specific purposes, whether that’ll change over time I don’t know, but I’m acutely aware that one outcome of this is that I simply shift the time to another device, something to keep an eye on.
Facebook has gone
One decision I came to this week was to delete my Facebook account. I have become more and more detached from it in recent months and this exercise has made me realise I no longer have a need for it. So I asked Facebook for all my data and closed my account. I will at some point do some analysis of what data I’ve been given.
It’s been a good first week. I don’t feel like I’ve felt the benefit fully due to time at the conference, but the huge reduction in time on my phone feels like a positive start to this experiment.