I want to disconnect
Some of my thoughts as I seek a new balance of technology
I want to disconnect from the detrimental side of technology once and for all.
In the past couple of months, my life has changed drastically and I find myself with a limited amount of free time. So how is the free time spent? Actually, not terribly. A quick peek at my Gitlab shows me actually committing my work for a change. This site (in it’s current state) had not existed prior, and my Linux dotfiles were a hot mess. I have developed a budding interest in Linux and have even found it in me to complete the Linux upskill challenge. On it’s own, all of this would be great, but I’ve only shared half of the story.
Over the years I have developed a set of poor technological habits, most of which involve the Internet in some capacity. My rigorous efforts in combating these detrimental patterns have freed me from the psychological manipulation of so-called “social” media and reduced the brain-numbing consumption of useless videos. I have grown to maintain a healthy relationship with video games, a stark contrast to my addicted high-school self. Despite these efforts I still have some work to do, but what else is to be expected? Years of damage takes years of repair.
I still waste hours per week consuming YouTube videos for the sole purpose of filling time. Although they may be educational and/or relate to a hobby, my intentions for watching are to fill a void of boredom instead of purposefully seeking the information for a specific task. When I’m bored with YouTube, I navigate to an image board or link aggregation site and continue my purposeless consumption for hours on end. This is not to say that every site I view on the Internet needs to fulfill a specific intent nor that I should restrict myself from the occasional day-long YouTube binge, but when these should-be occasional activities become weekly (or even daily) habits, they turn harmful.
These distractions have an adverse affect on my life. My sleep schedule is utter garbage which directly impairs my clarity and cognitive compute power. In turn, I struggle to complete my more productive tasks and settle for more Internet browsing, trapping myself in the endless cycle. I have yet to complete a single book on the e-reader I received as a Christmas gift nearly six months ago, an activity that serves as the perfect drop-in replacement to satisfy my desire to consume information and learn from it.
Due to the nature and environment of my new job, I find myself consuming a significant amount of audio-based media, spending hours each week listening to educational YouTube videos. I have learned (and retained) a satisfactory amount of information from the videos I listen to, and in this regard I whole-heartedly enjoy the opportunity to use my personal listening device at work. Detrimentally however, my listening is done at the cost of being present in the moment.
I’ll save all of my gripes about smartphones and their societal impact for another day. Objectively speaking however, smartphones give every owner the opportunity to escape from the present moment at anytime, anywhere. My complaints around this aspect generally revolve more around the Internet, social media and visual consumption, although there is something to be said about having the ability to quite literally block out a conversation and tune into your own stream of audio. Sometimes it’s convenient and helpful while most of the time it’s unnecessary, selfish and rude. In my dilemna, a balanced approach is the most reasonable option. Going forward, I will “live in the moment” at work, though my audio will remain on standby in case a reasonable opportunity presents itself.
Over the past two years I have taken to incrementally absolving myself of negative technological services. As far as I am aware, the only technology currently holding me back are the aforementioned mismanaged and unrestricted distractions as well as my smartphone. These two obstacles may be the final push on my goal to achieve a near-perfect balance of technology’s role in my everyday life, at least for the time being. Technology is always changing, and I cannot say for certain what new technology I will have the opportunity to introduce into my life as time progresses. Any further of a push shifts the detriment in the other direction as a lack of technology denies my passion, career and legacy.
It’s time to disconnect. Freedom awaits.
Tagged: technology productivity digital minimalism