Friday, August 31, 2012

Sporkchop Unplugged

Sketch by Alexander Leon



I think I'm going through a bit of technology overload lately. I've been feeling a heightened awareness of just how much technology I have in my life and it's making me really anxious. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do after hitting the snooze button half a dozen times is reach for my phone to check Facebook and my Google Reader feed. When I get to work, I most of my day planted in front of a computer checking emails and drafting/reviewing exhibit content on my computer. Then, at the end of the day, I break free, drive home and to relax, plop myself down in front of the Xbox or my lappy to play video games. Even when the future Mrs. and I go for a walk or out on a date, our phones are right there in our pockets and inevitably come out when one of us goes to the bathroom, or if we decide to check movie times. I am aware that I am constantly attached to technology. I don't like that I am constantly attached to technology, but I Can't. Stop. Doing. It!

Recently, my very obvious addiction has begun to grate on my nerves more than usual, and so I have decided that I want to actively strive for more tech free time in my life. This past week, I painted one of the D&D minis that I have had sitting primed and waiting for about six months. It was wonderful, but highlighted a couple problems with unplugging:

  1. Many real world activities (especially creative ones) tend to generate a mess. If I am feeling creative, it is far cleaner to go build in Minecraft than to paint minis or play with Legos. If I'm doing D&D planning, PDF books don't pile up around the room like the real ones tend to do. The mess factor has often tipped the scales when my leisure-time activity choices hang in the balance.
  2. Many real world activities require or benefit from digital assistance. Making paper-craft models requires that I print out PDFs, painting minis is much less frustrating with an online guide to painting techniques. Even hand-drawing maps for D&D is easier with the inspiration I glean from my Pinterest account!


The fact that I am aware of the issue is good, but really only contributes to my crankiness. I need some well-defined steps to help me combat my very real addiction… Here's what I have so far.

First, I think I should take the Buddhistically-inspired middle path. Don't try to cut out tech entirely, but reduce its intrusion into real life. This sort of moderated approach worked really well when the fiancee and I switched to local organic eating, so hopefully it will help with this.

Digital Mitigation:
  • Move my cell phone charger downstairs so I don't reach for it in the morning.
  • Leave my phone in my bag while at work
  • Leave my phone at home or in the glove box when going out (It can still be handy for checking directions, restaurant hours, etc.)
  • Get the laptop out of the living room!
  • Go to bed on time! When I stay up late, I am usually jacked in to something.


Unplugged activities:
  • Eat meals at the dining room table, not on the couch! (This requires keeping said dining room clean :\ )
  • Draw- Relatively low mess, but can be frustrating when uninspired
  • Play with Legos- High mess and the fiancee's habit of putting pieces in sorted Ziploc bags makes it a frustrating multi-step process to get the pieces I need. Yes, the bag with the pieces is easier to find, but then I likely have to dump the whole bag out to get the piece I want and put everything back in the bag afterwards! My way, I just have to dig.
  • Read- Very low mess, but we lack a comfy couch or other reading spot. When I try to read in bed, I tend to nod off.
  • Paint minis- High mess and requires a big block of time
  • Make paper-craft stuff- Also high mess and time-consuming
  • Garden- Weather contingent and very high mess
  • Board/Card games- Moderate mess, and requires available friends
  • Go for walks- No mess, weather contingent and works best with a willing fiancee to accompany


Anyway, I feel like having written this stuff down, I can use it as a guiding star in my efforts to trim my technological consumption. Do you have successful techniques or ideas for reducing digital dependency? Please feel free to revel in the irony that I am writing about this via a digitally mediated form of communication.

5 comments:

  1. Board games are great, and me my girl friend play them a lot, but if you need an extra body, try checking out a few of FFG's silver games that can work for solo play. Death Angel comes with a massive recommendation from me!

    Other than that, get used to making a mess. yes it will take time to clean up after yourself sometimes, but that's more time not playing with tech. Just remember how much fun you had doing the simple things like painting and drawing before you had all your gadgets and gizmos...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You speak the truth. I often lament the fact that I don't read or draw as much as I used to unless I'm camping. I definitely like my FLGS, so I'll pop on down and take a look at solo options... hadn't thought of that.

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  2. GREAT IDEAS, babe!!!!
    - move cell chargers downstairs - I've actually thought about suggesting this but thought you'd never go for it :)
    - Leave the phone at home or in the glove box when going out - yes! I'll work on this too!
    - Get the laptop out of the living room - I'm afraid this means I'll have to hunt you down in the office ;)
    - Go to bed on time! - YES!!!!!!!!! How many times have I suggested this? I miss you when you come to bed late :D

    You have my 100% support! <3 you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. INSTALL F.LUX ON EVERY COMPUTER YOU OWN!

    Seriously, it makes it so much easier to compute past 5pm. It's free, memory-light and amazingly important.

    ReplyDelete
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