In yet another of my constant personal challenges (the No Sugar/No Alcohol November being the most recent), I have decided to restrict my use of screens one night a week.
Honestly, this is probably better described as a "decision" than a "challenge", because while there will be some habit-breaking, it's not going to kill me. But challenge just sounds better. So. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Some background logic: I don't think screen-related activities are bad in and of themselves, but they have become a default activity, which I don't like. I don't fetishize life in the 90's when my family shared one computer, nor do I reject social media or modern technology, I simply want to remind myself that my devices are primarily utilitarian in function and don't need to be default distractions for any moment my mind isn't otherwise occupied. Evenings where I talk to friends, read, and/or listen to music, I simply feel happier, healthier, and sleep better.
Plus, my eyesight has rapidly deteriorated since getting a smart phone, so I am fantasizing that it will magically improve when I restrict access one night a week.
I would restrict it even more, say a whole weekend day or several evenings a week, but I do a lot of writing in my off-time, and so I need to keep that option opening. Maybe after a while I'll expand the restricted days, but allow a caveat for writing. For now, one evening a week is the testing ground.
Thus, Wednesday evenings have been officially declared as Screen-Free, from the time I leave the office to the time I wake up the next morning.
The reality of what this means:
Definitely no TV or laptop use, whatsoever.
On the phone I am permitted to talk (communication in real-time is good) and use the phone for utilitarian functions. This means:
- Texts to confirm plans that night are okay, rambling text conversations can wait.
- Looking up where I am on a map because I'm lost again, or confirming the details of an event I'm going to in an email or Facebook event is okay, but otherwise checking emails, browsing Facebook, or other open-ended viewing is not okay.
- No use of apps designed purely for fun, distraction, or non-specific socializing.
- Using the camera is only okay if I actually need a picture for something (which will only likely happen if I'm at an event I'll be writing about).
- Other utilitarian apps (the flashlight, for example) are allowed, if needed.
When it comes to large screens, as in a movie theatre, I'm going to allow it because I go see movies with people, so that's social. Oh! And the screen of my e-reader is allowed, because using it means I'm reading (which is desirable) and it's not a backlit screen nor does it lend itself to any other distractions.
What do I hope to do more of:
- Writing. (On paper! By hand!)
- Playing music.
- Whatever the heck I feel like.