A quest to tame technology-driven interruptions and distractions in my daily life.

The Pause Button

I’ve got a confession to make: I fuck this up a good bit. By which I mean that while I set these tech parameters and goals for myself, they can be elusive. Try as I may, I slip out of good habits and into bad ones. Rules I establish for myself get fuzzier and fuzzier.

There’s nothing that makes my feel like a hypocrite—my smartphone is still dumb, I still don’t have a laptop, and I still try not to use my phone in the middle of conversations/meals/highways. But with other guidelines like social media or not being online an hour before bed… I find myself slowly slipping. And it being March in Austin, Texas (aka SXSW season), our company is busier than ever and so I’ve been working nights.

It’s got me thinking. What’s the difference between a necessary evil and a lie we tell ourselves? Probably very little. Sometimes, in my occasionally on-deadline line of work, there is a need to check in on email after hours. Or monitor a Facebook page we’re managing. But the problem isn’t so much the exceptions as it is the slippery slope to losing a couple of hours doodling. Nightly. Guilty as charged.

As the company grows and we aspire to do more with more systems, I wonder if I can do my part shoehorned to the same 10 hour work day, 5 day work week—or will I need to concede that I’ll need to find the pause button next to The Off Switch.

There’s no denying—for instance—that I could be much more productive with a laptop for some after hours work sessions. But the question remains: would that imbalance start to rob me of the restorative powers of… not being so productive.

This is the line I walk. I started The Off Switch lifestyle about two and a half years ago. And in that time, my marriage and the company and my artistic life have been more fulfilling and productive than ever—by a lot. It’s no coincidence. What’s more, I know that I’m on the precipice of even great strides in my marriage and the company and my artistic life. That’s where discipline and common sense come in.

That’s the decision. Stay balanced. Keep suspicious of tech. Actively pull away.

Thank you! That’s what this blog does more than anything. It helps me sort it all out and to keep continuity of my intentions. It keeps me honest.

Mostly.

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