Recently I've been reading the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport, and in it he proposes the concept of a "digital detox", wherein a person would refrain from any optional digital activities for a month. The goal is not necessarily to quit those things, but to help identify which activities add value to your life and which ones are unnecessary bad habits that have accrued over the years.
As I'm about to start a weeks vacation this feels like a good opportunity to try the concept out. My plan is to give up the following activities for the next 30 days:
- Reading news websites. To be honest I don't think this is something I'll give up after the detox period - my educational background is in political science and keeping up to date on political affairs is something important to me, and the whiplash of the news cycle doesn't affect me as much as it does some people. The one exception I'll have to this rule is to check up on the current Covid-19 situation in Sweden (for which I use thelocal.se).
- Blogs. There's a bunch of websites that I cycle through when I have some downtime. The Verge, Rock Paper Shotgun, Factmag, AV Club, etc. These are gone.
- Video streaming (e.g. Youtube, Netflix). Two exceptions to this one are that I'll allow myself to watch things with others (no way my wife is going to allow us to stop watching Schitt's Creek), and to stream live music performances while I do other activities.- Video games. This is going to be the hardest of the lot! I haven't even started and I can feel myself getting antsy about it. The exception to this is that I'll allow myself to continuing playing Ring Fit (which has a nice built in time limit due to my lack of fitness).
- Facebook (not including Messenger which I use to stay in touch with my family).- Slack (outside of work hours).
- Podcasts. This will be another difficult one. I've been spending the last hour making up elaborate rules for podcasts that would allow me to listen to them sometimes, but at the end of the day I think I'll be better just going cold turkey.
- RSS feeds
I'm hoping to share an update next weekend with how it's been going!