Although this whole tech-life downgrade/simplification concept has been brewing for a few months, I’ve really only been practicing it for about a week when I started this blog and came up with some ground rules for myself. I’ve got to say, I have been pleasantly surprised with how immediately and extensively the changes have sunken in to all aspects of my awareness, continuity of thoughts, and just overall feeling. It’s really quite astonishing.
There are many planned alterations that have not yet happened—such as ditching the smartphone and trading the laptop for an iPad—but what I noticed immediately is that the new habits and the intention to pull away from the ever-present connectedness has been an excellent awakening for me. In as many ways as technology was permeating my life at every turn, reclaiming my mind and time has affected my day in countless ways. A few examples:
- I hadn’t realized how much the constant, intermittent use of technology throughout my day was complicit in me becoming increasingly more anxious, less patient, distracted, less creative, irritable, aggressive, selfish, less courteous, etc. Conversely, by corralling technology into planned times and places, I will go a few hours without checking in and it is like a breath of fresh air. I feel more content and aware.
- Often, I will pull my phone (still have my iPhone until I can downgrade) out of my pocket and turn it on before I realize what I’m doing. It’s pure muscle memory. Now, I just laugh at myself and turn it off again.
- I am much more productive. Still getting oriented in this new direction and still shrugging off bad habits, but by abstaining from social media and addressing sets of tasks like writing and email correspondence all at once, I save all that time and energy I had been putting toward jumping around.
- Two of the biggest changes have been no internet the hour before/after bed and turning off work email when I leave. I hadn’t realized how I had been allowing aggravating emails or stressful correspondence to have such power over me at all hours. By keeping those emails in their place, I also keep many of the work emotions in their place as well. I also have been enjoying forgotten joys like reading magazines and watching a train go by.
- By paring back on social media posting (and all the reading of posts), I find myself just sort of contemplating thoughts and keeping a lot of notions to myself whereas before I was rushing to share them for the gratification of feedback. Being in my thoughts is a lot more fun.
Those are just a few. Overall, I feel more relaxed, less in a hurry, and more present. That’s not to say that I don’t struggle with the distractions, escape, and temptations of clicking here and tapping there when I have a pause.The difference is that now I’ve made the decision to set this bigger goal for myself, I am constantly reminded to stay centered and to avoid reaching for the shiny, candy-like button all the time.