Few days ago, I was listening to a Hello Internet episode. Grey was talking about starting a project of undergoing a digital diet. I think his reasons resonated with me. So in this post, I try to think out loud, and plan how I will undergo my own digital diet.
First, what’s wrong?
A lot the reasons why overlap. But I will try to make each of the following headers focused on a single reason.
I am attached to my phone
My phone has become a prosthetic organ that I constantly feel its absence when it’s not on me. This doesn’t feel right. I know that my phone is an amazing device, and it’s not like I’m preparing for a day in which I don’t have phone, but I think it’s a good idea to examine the extent of this attachment and the degree it affects me mentally and physically (aching wrists 😕).
My mind is constantly seeking small sugar rushes
Looking at my phone, checking if I have new messages has become a background running process (daemon) in my head. When I am out, with my phone in my left pocket, I feel an urge to reach out and check my phone. Did I receive a new message? Is someone trying to reach me? I open YouTube: did someone upload a nice little nugget I can gnaw on? I refresh Twitter: any bites? Check the apps (🙃): any candy? It has become harder to be in a state of flow, whether that is to code, write, or read.
My mind is (almost) never experiencing silence
I am almost always consuming media. From the moment I open my opens, I reach for the phone, turn on the WiFi connection, and sort through the deluge of notifications. It has become a morning routine for me. I then do some workouts while playing a YouTube video, then I would shower with the sound of music playing in the background. I make my breakfast listening to a podcast or last night’s Colbert monologue. I go to work with headphones on, playing Spotify, which would last the whole workday. I would go home, watch some more YouTube, and probably a some Netflix. I then fall asleep after consuming some more media (🙃). Wake up next day, and repeat. I am not experiencing silence.
Being reachable means spending energy on a mental server
I like socializing. I have always lived with family. At different times in my life, I lived with different subsets of my family. But I always lived with family. That was until I moved to Vancouver last year. For the first time I was no longer with family. That meant that there are no longer people I get to spend time with by default (except for my awesome roommate, but him being one person makes it less likely that our times overlap everyday). So to socialize, I need to make an effort by texting friends, and waiting for their reply. Which keeps my head busy until they answer and that is taxing. I don’t know how a digital diet would help with this aspect, but it is something that is part of the narrative around why I want to try going through a digital diet
So, what will the diet look like?
I think the digital diet I am considering will target two aspects of my digital life. First is my passive media consumption. That would include YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Path, (most of) Instagram, Spotify, podcasts, and Netflix.
The second is my socializing media use. This includes WhatsApp, Instagram (DM), Telegram, and Slack. What I want to minimize (if not eliminate) (some of) the first, and regulate the use times of the second.
The implementation of this diet would be:
- Create two users on phone.
The main one will have Spotify.
The second one would have the texting apps.
Neither will have YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.
- The main one would not include any texting or social media app. This account will include Spotify.
- The second one will inlude the texting apps and perhaps a time tracker to see for how long I log into the account everyday.
- Update this plan after a week’s testrun.