I’m trying to work in tech whilst not being consumed by it. After a few failed attempts, I have planned to unplug and the unplugging has begun. Despite attending an online conference, Week 1 saw a positive shift in my usage.
Week 2 (to 2020-10-11)
This week was my first “normal” week having spent the previous week at an online conference so it felt a bit unorthodox. Not hit my target from week 1 of less pickups than notifications and annoyingly my screen time increased. I think that was perhaps expected on reflection because I’d hidden time on my laptop during the conference.
I’ve got a heap more time now though! I put some of that time to learn more about the inner workings of Hugo (I’m fed up with Wordpress, this site is run on Hugo), I’ve written my first tech post in a long time, and I also pulled together another graph to make this reflection time a little more nerdy. A bit annoyed by the bump in usage, I had a look into usage by category. This gives me a few more data points for self-reflection.
I’m ok with entertainment time, this is podcasts, music, audible which keeps me occupied during my walks and productivity is my task management and time tracking for work. So it’s all about the social media! This was completely twitter time, not really adhered to my plan fully! I think I’m ok with having Twitter on my phone but spending over 5 hours on it feels excessive. It’s my outlet to other techies but I’m consciously going to ensure I’m not just scrawling the feed, next week task is to drop this figure.
I watched Social dilemna this week after noticing Alex Yates had purchased an alarm clock, remember them?
I watched the Social Dilemma. It's the kick I needed to make some changes I'd been intending to make for a while.— Alex Yates (He/Him) (@_AlexYates_) October 4, 2020
1. Deleting Facebook. Full stop.
2. Removed Twitter app from phone. This place is asych for me now.
3. Buying an alarm clock. My phone won't enter my bedroom again. pic.twitter.com/fzfoGTPCMr
Ugh, it’s pretty horriffic to watch although it was certainly the perfect time to watch it to completely justify this objective. If you haven’t been convinced by any of the stuff I’ve been writing, check out the documentary, it’s quite the eye opener.
I have bought an alarm clock with the intention of my phone not entering the bedroom but I haven’t committed to that yet because we don’t really have a landline any more and if ever I was needed in an emergency it would be a disaster. I will prioritise the alarm clock over the phone though for sure and probably relocate the phone from my bedside.
I’ve become very aware of the usage habits of others. The most obvious of those was during my time in A&E this weekend. My daughter decided to sever the main nerve in her hand and we spent a fair few hours in A&E on Saturday. During our time there, other than keeping my wife up to date (one parent only due to COVID), I intentionally left my phone in my pocket and (much to her horror) talked to my teenage daughter. She was pretty bummed about the idea of being interrupted from social media but it seemed to do the trick as she eventually put her phone away and talked to me! Observing the other families who came and went during our time there, they fell into three categories…either parent and child talking about content on a single phone, parent and child busy on their own phones or parent focussed on their phone whilst child occasionally vies for attention. I’m not here to judge others, but I know that I have been that parent and I don’t like it of myself. Those observations will keep me motivated to continue this. The most startling thing on reflection was that nobody fell in the “just talked” category - not even us.
My daughter is fine btw, nerve reconnected following an operation, arm bandaged up, physiotherapy soon, she’ll be fine #BeingPositive. What a weekend…
There have been some positives during the last week. I’ve encouraged more family time without phones and the kids have responded to this, it’s routine for phones to not be around for certain things and we’ve definitely spent more time at the dinner table just talking. We seem to have had less friction, I don’t know if I’m imagining that, would be interesting to get my wife’s point of view on that - one idea from Josh’s original post was to obtain the perspective of others. I’ve had more time to tackle tech learning, early days on this one but I have definitely had more time for just general reading / learning. I feel much less distracted, I’ve still had the odd check my phone to see if it’s blank impulse but the number of times this occurs is reducing.
Recap of targets;
- Pickups less than Notifications
- Reduced social media time
- Commission alarm clock!
- Speak to my observer