Sunday, May 2, 2010

May: A Low(er) Tech Life

I've decided on a combination of goals for May, which may seem contradictory to the idea of focus. But I've come to realize how much time I spend on this computer, and on facebook and email in particular. I'm not against spending time online paying bills, uploading photos, or looking up recipes. Or blogging, obviously. But I'm clearly and unhealthily addicted to staying "connected" via email and facebook. I check my email while waiting for the shower water to get hot in the morning. I leave my work computer at lunchtime, walk home for two minutes, and check my email again when I get here. And again a few minutes later. And again before returning to work...where there's a computer. I leave the laptop on the coffee table, inches from my waiting fingers, as I lay on the couch watching tv. I check it constantly. Sometimes I literally cycle from window to window, reloading my email, facebook, and gmail. You know, in case something life-changing has been delivered in the last 30 seconds. I check it before I leave the house and before I go to bed, and if I get stuck in traffic for more than a few minutes or have to wait for an appointment, I check it on my phone. You get the idea.

So that's where low-tech month comes in. I figure if I limit my laptop time--and even move it away from the couch--I'll have a lot more free time. So I figured it'd be okay to make this a two-part focus. Part one is less laptop time, and part two are guidelines about how to better use that time to do three things: something educational, something creative, and something relaxing.

Thus, my proposal for May looks like this:

a. I will move the laptop to the kitchen table, so it's not in front of the couch and tv.
b. I will resist checking email and facebook constantly. In fact--limit usage to 15 minutes a day outside of work, with the exception of blogging and intentionally purposeful efforts like paying bills. I thought about deactivating my facebook account for the month, but I do want to post blog updates there. But I'm going to try to limit myself to JUST posting blog updates.
c. I will NOT do work outside of work time (unless really, REALLY necessary to keep my job.)

a. learn Danish!
b. meditate!
c. take pictures. I still haven't learned how to properly use my fancy camera I bought last summer, and I really want to. Taking pictures for the tree photo contest reminded me how much I love photography, and the only reason I don't do it more often is because I don't feel confident with the new camera. And there's only one way to fix that...

I could make a long list of other things to do with more free time, like reading and walking, but I won't. I'll focus on these three things, and see where it leaves me.

I have to admit, I'm kind of scared. It sounds ridiculous, but this is the month that seems most doomed to fail. Checking email and facebook has become such an automated and frequent action that I can't imagine drastically reducing it. I hate to admit it, but I do get a certain amount of validation from comments on my status messages and photos. I feel like people are interested in my life. I feel like people like me. And my pictures. And think I'm witty. It will be hard not to have that constant source of instant feedback...and the constant source of information about what's going on in the lives of my friends and family. And the birthday reminders! Agh. At times when I haven't had internet service, I've felt nearly frantic. I know intellectually that if I don't check facebook for a month and I come back and it tells me there are 36,000 new news feed items...none of it will be really important. But the idea of missing all of those's like throwing out 4 years worth of magazines I haven't gotten to read yet.

Do me a favor, okay? Since I won't be on facebook much...maybe you could just leave a few extra comments on the blog this month?

1 comment:

runningwiththejig said...

I went off Facebook for passover, and it was fantastic. Now I stay off line over shabbat.

Then, work got so busy I literally did not have time. I feel like I've broken my addiction! I don't even need to leave it open as a tab anymore!

Good luck!