At the end of last year I wrote a post about how to influence yourself to stick to resolutions. Making a publicly visible commitment to doing something is one of the ways we can do this. My commitment was to reduce the amount my digital life affected me and in January I wrote my first update post showing how I was sticking to it.
So how did I get on in February?
No Phone In The Bedroom
Progress. This is now 'normal' and on the couple of occasions that I've been in hotel rooms this month it's felt strange to have the phone to hand. It's also rapidly created the desire to keep checking it or look at it before bed. I was also very tempted to take my phone to bed during the bad weather so that I could check travel, etc as soon as I woke. I didn't but it would have been easy to justify.
Bottom Line. Although this has become routine behaviour it's easy to see how I could slip back into bad habits.
No App Notifications
Progress. Last month I turned off all notifications but some apps still show a number visually when there is something new. I've now moved some of these apps away from my home screen so the visual prompt isn't there.
Effect. I'm slowly weaning myself off a minor addiction to notifications although in some ways the desire now is to open up the app itself to see if there is anything new.
Bottom Line. Progress but still a way to go. The next step is to go through my apps and work out which ones I actually need mobile access to and which ones would be better suited to waiting until I'm at a browser (or not look at at all).
Minimum Browser Tabs Open
Progress. For day to day work this was one of my biggest time killers and the one I made least progress on in January. Leaving uneccessary browser tabs open meant my attention was drawn to something that wasn't my focus. This month I installed a browser extenstion called Tab Wrangler that automatically closes inactive browser tabs. The extension makes it easy to reopen them from a list if you need access to them once they've been shut.
Effect. More focussed and I've actually been surprised when I've gone through the list of tabs that it shut at the end of the day to realise that they'd been closed. In other words I hadn't missed them!
Bottom Line. This was an effective way to automate part of my digital detox.
Minimise 'Leisure' Browsing Time
Progress. A number of DIY projects around the house have meant less time spent on the laptop for 'leisure'. It's still far too easy to open up the laptop or phone when I sit down at the end of the day.
Bottom Line. Still more work to do here. I think the next step is to have somewhere out of hands reach that the laptop and phone go when I finish work. That way I will have to make a conscious decision to use them rather than semi-consciously using them by default.
I'm still making lots of progress and some of my changes are now becoming 'normal behaviour'. This is the first step to making this a consistent long term change. There are still steps I need to make to reduce reliance on digital devices but two months in and I'm happy with my progress.
Let me know if there are any ways you've found to reduce the impact of digital devices on your life.