Wednesday, October 2 2019
I’m about to read How to Break Up With Your Phone, and as an exercise in mindfulness, I wanted to share my thoughts both before and after.
I believe I have a healthy relationship with my phone. Yes, we go everywhere together; my phone is invariably on my person or sitting on my worktable, but my phone mostly exists as an e-reader. My phone’s size is perfect for one-handed reading, and I love being able to carry a substantial library of titles in my pocket. I also use my phone for taking photos (I was a shutterbug when it involved 27-shot rolls of film) or keeping my pace at the gym. As I’m not one for texting or instant messaging on the phone (I prefer a keyboard for my chatting), the only time-wasting app on my phone is “reddit is fun”. Wary of becoming an addict, I deliberately avoid using my phone in company (and never while eating out with someone), and keep it parked on the desk when I am sleeping to avoid reading/browsing in bed. I keep the ringer and notification sounds off most of the time, and squelch what app notifications I can.
And now, to read the book and see if it brings anything I’m not aware of to mind!
Saturday, October 12 2019
When I read How to Break Up With Your Phone, I finished the book feeling pleased with myself. I, apparently, didn’t have a problem! Social media has nearly no presence on my phone; if it’s in my hand, chances are I’m reading or calling someone. A few more days of thinking about it, though, followed by a video on one man’s attempt to be a digital minimalist, made me aware that my preening was premature. Specifically, recently I watched a video by Matt D’Avella on his and his wife’s attempt to live a week as digital minimalists, using four rules: no phones in bed, only one session of checking email per day, only thirty minutes of social media use per day, and streaming media (Youtube, Netflix, Spotify, etc), only on one day. The instant horror I had at the idea of only checking my email once a day — I keep a tab open whenever I’m at the computer, or only streaming once a week, was itself an alert as the source of my own addictions. I wasn’t completely oblivious to them, particularly my YouTube habit, but D’Avella’s approach really throws light on them.
While I’m not going to take on D’Avella’s own rules, I do want to try a…limited version of them, like checking my email only at two or three appointed times during the day (with morning coffee, after lunch, and after supper); limiting my reddit/facebook time to a common hour per day, and limiting my Youtube watching to….well, let’s do the other things first. If I can do intermittent fasting successfully — about to hit the two month mark on that — I can fast from reddit!