2018 will probably be remembered as a turning point in human history from the pre-AI to the AI era. We are not only surrounded by technology, significant parts of our everyday life happen only digitally. With the great benefits comes a high price: Our attention, privacy and (the most valuable resource) time. We sacrafice significant amounts of each in order to be part of this revolution which we do not fully understand the way we probably should as a society.
Google and Apple will introduce features to their operating systems for us to take back control over the way we interact with social media and entertainment. But Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and various other digital media sources are built upon the principle to steal our time and attention and even Google and Apple will not make them vanish. It is on us to fight the urge. But doing so is hard. Very hard to be specific.
The way we interact with media has become part of our daily routines and habits. Open a browser, hit the f-key, hit Enter, scroll for some minutes, switch to whatever you intended to do (if you didn’t forget). Does this sound familiar? Well, it sure hits home for me. As a minimalist I always have the urge to change and remove parts of my life until I have the bare minimum. This principle might help with the war of attention.
I write this article with a very serious decision in the back of my mind. I moved out of my tiny apartment in late March of this year and fell back into habits I am not proud of. At first I thought it wouldn’t matter if I let myself procrastinate a little but this soon escalated and I am back in believed-to-be-burried habits that make me avoid responsibilities until the very last second possible. I lack motivation, sleep and happiness the more I go on. I do not exercise at all and if I get to choose to do something useful or to watch YouTube I don’t even consider the valuable option. Because I know that this has to end today I will do something rather wild (at least from my perspective):
From today on I will delete the following things off my mobile devices (phone and tablet) and keep them deleted for at least 30 days:
– YouTube, Netflix and other video services
– Video Games
– Social Media services
– The Browser (which means search-engine app only on the phone)
I will use the services I mentioned above only on my main computer, the Raspberry Pi 3, because it is not capable of doing most of these tasks for a long period of time without heating up too much. This will force me to limit my daily internet usage to a bare minimum, because the board does not allow hour-long YouTube sessions.
I have not been bored in years. This is not a natural state of mind for humans. Thousands of years we were forced to be creative by being bored to death. I want to be a writer and a musician (besides the actual teaching job), yet I didn’t write (or at least publish) something in months. This has to change and I will share my experience until I can introduce these pacifiers back into my life. Deliberate technology use is what I aim for. Let’s hope I end up where I want to be.