I recently moved out to a rural area, and while I have internet, it’s not exactly optimized for streaming video, which means I watch far less TV and read a lot more than I did when I was in the city. To me, it’s a perfect example of how your environment affects your behavior.
More and more I’ve been realizing how detrimental the excesses of convenience can be to my personal development, so I’ve been trying to use “inconveniences” (like limits on internet usage) to my advantage. When I have less to work with, I find creative uses for what I’ve already got. In short, I’m more likely to take action because there is less out here to distract me.
I took a social media detox last July, and wrote about my experience here. I’ve rarely logged in to social media since, and am quickly reminded why every time I log in.
I also quit Netflix over a year ago and have never looked back. Netflix and other streaming services are included in those excesses of convenience I mentioned previously. For the most part, I avoid TV shows like the plague because it’s so easy to binge. I’d rather read long form stories than watch them.
Filling Your Pockets
I see life like a jacket with a shit ton of pockets which society pressures us to keep full at all times. There is no apparent reason to fill these pockets other than the person next to us is filling their pockets, too. And so is everyone else.
The problem, of course, is that the more you have in your pockets, the harder it gets to move around. It takes significantly more energy to take a single step, than it would be if the jacket was less full. I guess I’m just trying to pay attention to what I’m carrying, and fill my pockets with the right stuff, without overflowing them.
Moving into a tiny home prompted me to get rid of a lot of junk. Not having as much stuff in my physical space has allowed me to focus more on what matters. I view work in a different way, and consistently return to the question of why I do any given task. The purpose is to create purpose.
To help me get into this mindset each day, I make my bed first thing in the morning. This kicks my brain into gear, so I can move on to my next task, which is always either writing or exercise (depending on the day).
I’ve also been using Google Calendar to organize my days, so each hour, I know what it’s time to work on (or if it’s time to take a break).
The Perceived Relevance of Social Media
I don’t use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — basically, all of the tools that many say are required to be “relevant”. I’m not exactly sure what that even means. From what I’ve seen, most content on social media is relevant only to itself and inconsequential to all else. It’s junk food for the mind.
Any value equated with social media can be acquired in a much cleaner way from physical, social interaction, nature and books.
These services have tricked us into believing they are necessary for us to live meaningful lives. And I take issue with that, especially because each of us could do more good for the world if our default state was something other than “distracted”. Everyone is looking for answers inside the screen, when the answers aren’t there to begin with.
That’s my belief, anyway. Of course, I’m always happy to engage in civil discourse on the subject.