“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
— Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
So I decided to go a month without tv this July. It has gone surprisingly well. I have only broken it once, and it was a deliberate break where I had takeaway. Then I went back to no TV, no problem. I begun reading more, but a disturbing trend revealed itself; TV wasn’t really my problem. My phone is. The way I uses it for entertainment.
I quit netflix, youtube and plex. Instead I used more time on my phone. It was a mixed pleasure. Scrolling and interacting on apps on my phone is entertaining – but it also had some other effects. I got into a bad mood if I used it too much. I got addicted to notifications and attention (or may be the addiction just became more obvious). Surprisingly though, according to the screen time summary I receive every monday, my phone consumption actually went down though it felt like I was replacing tv with phone use. But apparantly, feelings are not to be trusted. No surprise there.
So in a move that is so very me – I am now redefining the no tv month. I have figured out that no tv doesn’t really work for me to bring on change. So when something doesn’t work as intended, I have to do a slight change in direction. Except I really don’t want to make this change. It scares me.
I have to make a plan on how to deal with my phone and the apps on it. This turned out to be really difficult.
So the first thing I did was to delete apps, categorize the ones I kept into an optional folder, and for those addictive ones I bookmarked them on my computer (…. except snapchat…. that one is going to bite me in the ass eventually). The whole point is to make my phone into a primarily talk and text phone. I want to remove the compulsive checking.
These last two weeks I have been reading more, and so I’m reading Cal Newports book, Digital minimalism, to figure out how to approach my phone problem. In it he suggests 30 days complete detox. That is out of the question for me, but I do want the changes to be permanent. Very simply because this is the way I operate in the world. I make a change, see how it works, adjust, see how that works and keep on adjusting until I’m content. The problem with this approach is that its an never-ending cycle of change. There’s always something to improve or I fall back on bad habits. It seems to be a personal failing of mine. Oh well.
How about about the no tv altogether? It’s still on…. kinda. Whatever strategy I’m employing now also extend to tv, but with some changes. I will continue with not watching tv most days. But I found that I have off days (and they are more regular than I was aware of). Days where I have little energy, sick or just need to stay on the couch and watch tv. I have days with takeaway where tv is part of the enjoyment (but regular dinner in front of the tv is out).
TV will no longer fill the boring spaces in my life. Instead it will be added as special enjoyment. Which is a bit of a problem as my list of series and films to watch are already getting too long.
But so far the only change to the no tv challenge was me reading a bit more, blogging on it and being a bit more active on social media. After two weeks, this is not good enough. I need to go deeper. But my last and probably most important goal is simply “Have fun!”. Any suggestions?
It’s not at all important to get it right the first time. It’s vitally important to get it right the last time.
— Andrew Hunt and David Thomas