Friday, January 27, 2012

Baby steps... Baby steps...

After a day of partially unplugging --- okay not even 12 hours --- I'm already going a bit nuts. The thing I miss the most is Twitter, oddly enough. I didn't even think I was that into Twitter. I found myself watching a little bird chirping on a tree branch outside and instead of being in the moment, I was thinking, "Okay, I need to Tweet so-and-so about such-and-such... oh wait... I don't have a Twitter account..." And there was this giant panicked feeling, like all the adrenaline in the world entering my body at once. This happened several times yesterday.

Sleeping was strange too. I've gotten so used to reaching over and checking my iPhone whenever I think of something I'm curious about. Google. Wikipedia. YouTube. They're all my friends. But I figured part of the disconnect process was keeping them in their places. Nothing wrong with looking things up, just... not when I'm supposed to be sleeping.

I did something else last night that I haven't done in years. I went to bed without checking my email. I didn't check it when I woke up this morning either. It felt so strange. Rude, almost. Like I was ignoring people. When I had properly woken up, eaten breakfast, and watched a TV show (baby steps... baby steps...), then and only then did I settle in to check my email and deal with online business.

I've been thinking a lot about multi-tasking lately. I've gotten really good at it... or at least used to it. I'm not sure if anyone is ever truly good at it. I've been realizing just how difficult single-tasking is for me. When I eat, I want to be watching the TV. When I pee, I want to be reading a book on my iPhone (tell me I'm not the only one who does this?). When I email, I want to have music playing, Twitter going, my cat on my lap, and Google handy to look up anything I might be wondering about. Whatever happened to doing one thing at a time? It's hard to get back into that mode, but I think it will be worth it.

A commenter yesterday noticed that I didn't turn off my TiVo. There's a reason for that. My whole experiment is to try to regain some equilibrium in my life. I don't intend to completely lose technology - there is a lot to be gained from technology. My intention is to slow down... regain the ability to daydream, have some quiet head space, be bored. When was the last time you were bored?

TiVo gives me the gift of not having to think about when a show is coming on to television. It actually gives me back some of my headspace. Most technology these days does the opposite, pushing it's ever insistent notifications into our quiet moments. Those are the kinds of technologies I'm trying to put back in their places. I'm weighing the pros and the cons of each thing and trying to figure out whether it's helping me be a more peaceful, creative human being or whether it's just insisting on interrupting me a lot.

Although I suppose one could argue... maybe I watch too much television if I need a TiVo to schedule it? That may be true. Maybe I should give myself a 2-week window of time to watch things. That would be interesting. Anything not watched by then gets deleted. If it wasn't interesting enough for me to watch right away, maybe it wasn't worth storing on my TiVo. I'll have to think on that...

Anyway, here's an interesting video I found about observing a weekly technology Sabbath. I think I need to get serious about doing that consistently. Constant technology stimulation is exhausting me.

  1. My first technology fast.
  2. My geeky tech history.
  3. Starting the Disconnect Process.
  4. My general "unplugging" anxiety.
  5. My "Rules" for a technology detox.
  6. Technology detox - Day 7 update.
  7. Technology detox - Day 17 update!


  1. I have been loving all these unplugging posts, Jen. Thanks for sharing your journey and experience. It's super interesting and inspiring to read.

  2. Good answer! Admittedly, recording with TiVo is better than scheduling your life around when a certain television show airs.

    This technology sabbath intrigues me...unfortunately, that would cut out my ability to take one photo every day for a year. Maybe I can make a small exception, hmmm.

    1. Yeah. I suppose "technology" is a pretty broad term. Technically speaking, everything from electricity to paper and pencil are technology. You'll have to define it for yourself, but for me, I take a sabbath from TV, internet, iPhone, and video games - all the things that are mindlessly talking away at me the rest of the week.

    2. Oh one thing I was thinking of but forgot to say. Camera's don't necessarily talk back to you, so I think for the sake of taking a tech-break, they would be fine to use. The bigger issue, at least for me, is the constant feedback I'm getting from everything. Camera's are more like an art tool that you use to create something, so I don't think that counts as interactive technology (just don't upload it until Monday or you'll be tempted to surf around online!!).

  3. Me toooo! I am getting very overwhelmed by it all. Thank you for sharing!


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