|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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.