Six Fucking Days - 34

Today, using the iOS Screen Time feature, along with ActivityWatch (my favorite open-source device analytics software), I have calculated the total "leisure time" (time spent on my phone and on my personal computer account is almost entirely that) for the past three weeks.

I have spent one hundred and one hours using technology over the past 3 weeks, and that's not including time spent working on schoolwork or attending online classes.

101 hours. 4.2 days. Four and a fifth fucking days. If I divide that into my waking hours, about 15.5 hours/day, I have spent about six and a half days using technology (edit: by technology I mean electronic devices - technology in the colloquial sense), most of which I can say with relative certainty was not time well-spent. Time spent on my phone and personal accounts is mostly web browsing or communicating with friends, and while I do find value in that... SIX FUCKING DAYS! Some of it, at least four hours a week, was dedicated to writing here, but the vast majority of it was me absentmindedly consuming. I was a fucking idiot to think that I was resisting the pull of addiction that I saw in my sister; the beast simply took a different form. Treachery often comes in pleasant packaging.

(Thinking about it, I just realized that I spent a large part of my aunt's birthday party this evening on my phone. Admittedly, most of it was scrolling through the Reuters app while my mom explained Retinol to her. Still, I wish I'd been more present during the evening than I was. Maybe now that I've realized that there's a problem, I'll start noticing my habits more often.)

I can't get my brain around this. I could have simply spent the entirety of my weekends scrolling through my phone, and put it away during the week; the resuslts would be the same. Actually, I'd probably have less screen time than I do now. Literally days of my life are gone to this brain-eating void. I thought my habits were more mild, honestly - if you asked me, I would have said about three hours per day. Not so.

This, I hope, will finally push me to fix things.

I am not spending another 33 hours on my devices this week.

My "secret" [poential identifier] organization project - something I haven't mentioned yet on this blog, codenamed [potential identifier] - is finally going to be deployed. This project is ambitious, and I sort of stopped working on it for a while, but it basically is a guide to organizing my entire life. I failed to do so over my winter break, so I'm doing that now. No more cluttered room, no more mindless scrolling, no more unintentionally spent time, no more... no more of any of the shit that's been plagueing me for months, years even, that I haven't gotten around to fix. This public commitment to my own set of rules is going to be the first official step, and hopefully many more public commitments will come along soon.

Starting now, I am going on a diet. I am committing to 10 hours per week of phone use, and 5 hours of computer (personal account, non-project) use. Here are my public guidelines:

Phone: 10 hours

  1. ~13 minutes in feed apps per day: RSS reader, HN, LessWrong, SkimFeed, and AP/Reuters apps (1 hour 30 min total, mostly on my phone)

    • I will skim headlines quickly, search for things that are meaningful or interesting to me, and save them to my wallabag to be read in the 30 minutes. (pattern: open up HN, search RSS, open up LessWrong, look at SkimFeed; quickly look through AP/Reuters apps.)
    • I only open these apps up deliberately; I will do it in one session around the end of the day. Reuters and AP have notifications on in case of a major news story, so if I recieve a notification that seems like something I should know about, I will make a brief exception.
  2. 30 minutes of communications per day: Signal, iMessage, Wire (3.5 hours total)

    • I will open these apps up when I recieve notifications or feel that I have something good to share
    • I will close these apps when I am no longer actively communicating or engaged in the conversation. Notifications are there for a reason.
    • This limit is relatively open for apps like Signal, which I mostly use to communicate with my closer friends (I care more about conversations with them so I will give myself leeway when using Signal)
  3. 30 minutes minutes of reading (3.5 hours total)

    • This will satistfy my FOMO and consumption urges.
    • I will read articles throughout the day and be careful to stay under 30 minutes. (Set a timer?)
    • I will stay in the wallabag app and refrain from visiting the website of what I am reading (I can open safari to save a bookmark but that's it)

Computer: 5 hours

Writing: 35 minutes/day (rounds to 4 hours/week, about)

  • This will be a hard limit to follow, but the main reason for it is that I keep writing posts past 12am, which is the main reason that I'm usually up so late. It is unhealthy and I want to minimize it, so I will set a 35 minute timer for my writing and save long posts for later work.

Non-project browsing (like passive consumption): 8.5 minutes/day (rounds to an hour/week)

  • This is pretty self-explanatory, but I figure I'll write out its use case anyway.
  • Once I finish a project working time I can open up the tabs that I saved for later and figure out what to do with them.
  • I probably won't do this every day, so time will carry over (I care about weekly screen time, not daily (though that may need to change depending on the outcome of this; I find that short-term goals are better than long-term ones))

Project browsing: unlimited but deliberate; if it becomes unintentional browsing time it turns into non-project browsing.

  • I will set an intention before beginning a project session
  • I will list the websites that are important and go into focus mode
  • I will save interesting but unrelated tabs to Onetab instead of opening them in the background

What will I do with the weekly 18 hours that I've now freed up?

I am going to re-learn how to be a person offline. I am not going to be afraid of longer time commitments.

Here are (most of) the activities I will emphasize, in no particular order

  • Read the perpetually-beckoning pile of books on my shelf
  • Spend time with my family
  • Work on reorganizing my room
  • Meditate
  • Relax on my bed and play some music
  • Work on some projects (preferably offline)
  • Go for a walk outside and catch up on my favorite podcasts (I want to link to the podcasts page of my personal website here, ugh fucking pseudonymity)
  • Use my pull-up bar and do body-weight exercises or stretch
  • Draw
  • Write a letter
  • Go to bed early or take a nap
  • Practice music

Wish me luck. I hereby relinquish control.

-branches


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