Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On Being in a Technology Loop


The other day I read this post on xoJane about shutting off all the technology every now and then and just letting your eyes (and brain) rest after staring at screens constantly.  I've read a lot of posts about "digital detoxes" and I've always read but largely ignored them because WHATEVER YOU GUYS, I DON'T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON THE INTERNET.

This time, though, I stopped to think about how much time I spend on an electronic device throughout the day.  A normal daily schedule looks like this:

7:00am: Wake up, instantly grab phone and scan Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
7:15am: Wander into the living room, turn the computer on and check blogs and Facebook again
7:30am: Walk Cypress
8:00am-12:00pm: Work, eat, have X-Files or some other television show on, take intermittent breaks from productivity on Facebook, Twitter, and Bloglovin', text and IM various friends
12:00pm: Walk Cypress
12:30pm: Maybe eat lunch, if I remember
1:00pm-3:30pm: Work/X-Files/Internet Breaks
3:30pm: Walk Cypress.
4:00pm-6:00pm: Finish up work
6:00pm: Dinner (while watching TV)
6:30pm: Walk Cypress
7:00pm-10 or 11:00pm: Watch TV, read blogs, Facebook and Twitter
Bedtime: Play on iPad in bed while watching MST3K

Basically, minus walking Cypress (which I admittedly hurry through) I'm staring at a screen the entire day.  Part of this is due to the fact that I work from home and that my job is firmly entrenched in the world of computers and databases, but the other part is that being online and watching TV makes me feel a little less alone all day and keeps me from worrying or being anxious when Rob's gone, and is kept up more as a habit when he's actually around.

Rob and I have talked a lot about complete abstinence from vices and how it can often cement that vice's power over you. If something appears to actually be interfering with your life but not actually causing physical harm, it needs to be moderated, not obviated entirely. That said, I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to devote one day to a technological detox and get back to the forms of entertainment I would've had access to before the proliferation of advanced technology--books, baths, walks, photography (I'm not counting the camera in the advanced technology since it involves a lot more engagement than staring at a screen), etc.  I can't do this during the work week for obvious reasons, but I think this weekend would be a perfect time to try it out and in the meantime make little tweaks here and there to my daily routine (last night I read a book instead of the iPad/MST3K combination) to avoid ending up like Fred Armisen up there.

The only device I will not give up in its most basic form is my phone.  With Rob gone for 3 weeks, not talking to him would be difficult and would cause too much anxiety to make the whole thing worth it, if that makes sense. Plus my friend Amie is flying in on Saturday and I need to have a general idea what happens with her travel day. I do plan, however, on temporarily deleting my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram apps to keep me from staring mindlessly at my phone all day instead of a computer screen.

I write this here to keep myself accountable and to also get feedback from you guys on your thoughts.  Have you ever done a detox from technology, or any other "vice"? Do you think such temporary detoxes are valuable or pointless?

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