I recently made a decision to have a week-on/week-off approach to my digital life. Easily 90% (or more) of what I do in all my ‘work’ projects involves digital technology and a need to be online. It’s too much.
So now I literally just started a trial period of a week working (quite relentlessly) and a week off (doing non-digital DIY around the house/garden), physically hanging out more with family and friends, getting out into nature, travelling around and exploring a bit.
This week, after today, apart from a meeting or two, I’m offline (in theory).
Even after just a week or two I already noticed two things. I feel excited coming back to work after a week off. And during my time off I never stop thinking (in the background), so my ideas seem to germinate, grow and develop more naturally.
Let’s see! It’s early days.
I'm an early riser and often my laptop is my first stop. My garden is my detox zone - I try to spend an hour-ish every day hanging out there. But I'm also a confirmed multi-tasker, which confounds my attempts to stay off the digital sauce. I really appreciate your ideas to cut back on that digital time. I think I'll start with something easy, like closing the laptop for an hour while I have my tea.
I get a little note from Microsoft telling me how well/poorly I did - I think I rank right up there with your 7 hours. Egads.
Since I do freelance work online, as well as create a newsletter and books with software, I spend waaaay too much time on my computer. Balance, for me, means giving up Netflix on my computer and only watching it during breakfast and dinner. Still, that's computer time, but it's also how my wife and I entertain ourselves.
The real challenge for me is Substack overload. It's not possible to read everything! Guilt sets in if I fail to reciprocate. But, often, I just have to let things go.
One of the things I tried to do is become more efficient with the tools I use and, more importantly, to become more proactive about culling the subscriptions and software I don't use. Part of that journey required me to acknowledge and then conquer Shiny Object Syndrome.
Places like ProductHunt and AppSumo are insidious FOMO manipulators! I avoid them completely now.
Great reminders here Paul. When I first was on Substack I never thought to turn off my notifications. Why would I be getting notifications?! How quickly I adapted to that dopamine hit and fell in love with them. Yikes! No more notifications for me.
Thanks for a great article.
Great, Paul. Isn't it strange ... I could never, ever write long-hand what I do on my laptop. The trip from the brain to the fingers isn't the same.
By the way, I have a new one coming out tomorrow, kinda of an antithesis to yours ... my list of life's "to-don'ts."
Liked this! Timely. Been getting out more. I've cut back my digital screen time but it is still too much. A structured plan, like in school, gives every interest some time. - "Gonna play my guitar now…" - me, too. : )
Play the guitar! I'm off on an unplugged walk. Thanks for some good observations.