Last night I received a notification on my phone to tell me that my screen time had reduced by 10% this week. What wonderful news!
I was on leave for the last week and used much of my time catching up with various chores around the house and garden as well as long stretches of time in the hammock which was also a new purchase.
I was feeling more relaxed as the days passed and felt that I was coming back to my old self. I also had a few stretches of real boredom in there where I look up at the clock and saw that it was only say, 1:30pm and had a whole day ahead of me.
To some people, boredom is something they do their best to overcome. For me, I look out for it. I think I need it. If I’m not bored, it means that my brain is in overdrive. If it’s in overdrive, I’m stressed or anxious (without me knowing it) which then plays out in different ways such as eating like a maniac.
Over the years, I’ve come to realise that my phone and in fact, many screens are a demise for me. Even though they bring me joy with regards to serving up great content that I can check out and learn from, experiment and try out, at the same time, they’ve sucked huge amounts of time where I could have been doing something else such as making things, being creative, reading more books in our physical library, writing more, getting outside or just sleeping.
My leave time was an effort to reclaim some headspace back.
However it also made me realise that it’s not the technology. I seem to get agitated when things are constantly asked of me. The notifications serve as reminders of things not done; people not called; tasks incomplete. After a while, you get jack of it and you just want a void between everything. A space where there’s no information coming at you anymore so you can just process it.
Similarly, I’ve begun to notice that even the use of social media now I’m questioning. I’m not getting any value from it anymore. Except for a handful of people on it (my super network which is a Twitter list that I access often), there’s a reduction in useful conversations that aren’t filled with hatred or spite. It’s tiring to read this on a daily basis – and I feel the world and all its woes are playing heavily on people. I wonder often, what is the point of me even being on it? Or, should I change my approach towards it to be less engaging with people and simply use it like many others have as broadcasting but not engaging (while only engaging and contributing in the much safer spaces of private, online communities)? Similarly focusing on my blog here – and my YouTube channel for my videos? And only using DMs?
For the last couple of weeks as well, I’ve been doing some coaching sessions with someone in my personal learning network and it’s been great talking to him about behaviours that I could improve. Thinking about what we discussed has also made me think about the habits that I need to change for my own mental headspace.
Creativity and learning for me are my drivers. Without them, it feels like I’m not breathing. I need to be doing something that involves these or else I go into a spiral of despair, constant whining and self pity. Nothing feels right for me if I’m not doing activities that involve these two elements. Initially, I shared these activities with the world through social media because I liked the interaction and feedback and where I could improve on them however, I’ve since realised that I’m a big girl now. I don’t need to always rely on that especially if this feedback for validation (feedback for learning something new is different).
Simply, doing it for the pure pleasure of doing that activity – I don’t need validation or feedback for this.
So I’ve had to rethink my use of long hours on social media with the understanding that it may reduce my access to potential new ideas and insights from people. In its place, I’ve moved all my apps into a folder on my phone hidden away on another page and reduce my screen time to work hours only; with an additional 1-2 hours over the day used mainly to catch up on my reading on Feedly.
Let’s see how this experiment goes. It’s a big realisation to have when you decide that there are certain things you want in your life – many things you want to reduce or remove entirely but that comes at risk at making you less up-to-date with your peers and disconnecting from the same personal learning network that helped you for many years.
I’ve just realised that the world of technology is changing too quickly and I simply can’t keep up anymore. I would be better served to contemplate a lot more, write a lot more, use the time to dabble, play and experiment with it rather than be superficial about it and let the hatred, spite and woeful state be constantly served up to me.