Talking Mostly To Myself

I often worry that it seems I'm preaching here. That or trying to prove how wonderful I am. Preaching turns me off to Twitter and people being wonderful is reason enough to leave Facebook. These aren't things I want to be doing in my writing so sometimes I end posts by saying I'm mostly telling myself whatever the post was about. One way I learn is by repeating things to myself until I believe.

Many times I recount experiences I've had or that someone else described to me. This doesn't mean I'm perfect (ha!) or the other person is some kind of guru. It's just that I found whatever happened interesting and want to share. It's that way with phones this week.

I'm reading Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism which is good. I would say it's great, but I've read a lot on this subject before. I imagine it would be an eye-opener for anyone who hasn't been thinking about distractions and focus as much as I have. Reading the book does have me changing things on my phone and the ways in which I use (or don't use) it.

Last night I set the phone to go grey-scale and block all notifications and calls from 8 pm until 7 am. I also set time limits (through an Android app called Digital Wellbeing. I'm trying to make my smartphone dumb and uninteresting. The effects so far have been encouraging.

According to Digital Wellbeing, I use my phone for about an hour and a quarter each day. That's a start but is still disconcerting because I'm losing over an hour to it every day. That's time I could write, enjoy my family, walk, or run. I'd like to get phone use down to half an hour or so. I'll keep at it.

I'm also leaving the phone at home when I go out with family. They each have phones should we need them, but not having mine keeps me from looking at it and in the midst of my loves. Why check email when I've got my daughters and wife right there? I mean, duh.

I'm an amateur at this and there's no telling how long I'll stay with it. The master is: my friend Jerry. I emailed him about getting together at the Carrier Dome for a basketball game. I included a link to a map and told him if he had trouble finding where to park, he could give me a call. He became my hero by saying:

"Much obliged for the map, which I'll use. I don't carry a phone, so hooking-up will be clunky." (emphasis mine)

He did have trouble parking but asked people and got where he needed to be. Watching the first half, I scanned the seats and there he was. At halftime I walked around to where he was coming up the aisle. There was nothing clunky about our embrace. We talked for fifteen minutes and neither of us looked at our phones. We were too busy being together.

Again, I'm writing this down so I remember that a phone is just a tool, not the centerpiece of my living. Do with that information as you will.