Last summer, in the depths of the pandemic isolation, I found myself struggling with my eyesight. I realized, in part, it was due to more screen usage--we got a Switch; I was scrolling through social media more in an attempt to distract myself/connect with people; I was on the computer constantly once I started back to work fully in August. I also realized that (with an infant), I would stumble awake and immediately stare down at my phone. I also had issues with my hands/wrists.
One thing that began to help with my eyesight (until I finally went to the eye doctor in March and got the right prescription--one eye had changed slightly) was to not start the day by staring at the phone. So I made coffee and breakfast for the family. Or I stared out the window for a while. Basically, immediately opening my phone and staring at the screen was clearly detrimental to my health. In switching up these habits, I also deleted Twitter and Facebook off the phone and later decided to put a time limit on Instagram.
All this leads up to me thinking about how I use digital technology, some of which is to my detriment, though some is good too. In preparation for my sabbatical, I wanted to reconsider my use of technology and set myself up for success for this next year. I want to be able to work productively and intentionally--but also enjoy the time available to pursue my own interests and spend time with my family and dedicate to relationships. What I don't want is to end the year with the sense that I wasted time on social media and watching too many movies or just not engaging.
But mostly, what I want is a sense that I'm being more intentional overall, and that my use of technology is aligned with my values, a philosophy of technology use that Cal Newport argues for in his book, Digital Minimalism. I encountered a bit about that here in this article about doing a digital declutter, and now I'm reading his book to think about what I want from this experience (e.g. change my actions, not just "take a break").
So, May will be spent opting out of optional technologies, and then June will be reintroducing those things that work in a way that supports what I want. And I'm excited to continue to think and reflect and consider how I can continue to identify my values and continue to be intentional with my actions.