The Tyranny Of Productivity

This is Part One of an experiment that I’m conducting on myself. I plan to post Part Two after Norseman, with an update on how this all went.

Like many people, I find myself increasing tethered to my phone (and, to a less degree, my computer) under the guise of “productivity.” In part, because social media actually is a component of what I do for a living, it’s easy to justify time spent there. One of the few saving graces is that I only have a Facebook business account, which means Facebook is for me strictly an outbound platform. But Twitter and Instagram are not. And email certainly is not. But increasingly, I’ve found these things – especially when I get tired from training – are increasingly distracting and an increasing drain on my mental energy reserves. None of this stuff is accretive to my life.

So I decided to take it all off of my phone. And to logout from the various social media platforms on my laptop. My passwords for all my accounts are, for security reasons, both different and too complicated for me to remember – I store them all in a secure vault, but not one which supports auto-login, but this has the added advantage of meaning that I can’t simply log-in easily. For email, I still have functional access on my phone, but it’s not easy.

Because I need to have access to this stuff, I’ve moved all of these applications to a device that I rarely used before (and certainly don’t carry around with me) – an iPad that formerly served only as a movie screen for long trips with the kids. This means I can use it when I need to, but I have to make a conscious decision to do so.

On your laptop, if you’re on a Mac, you can also set-up permanent blocks (though easily edited) on notorious-time wasting websites (like Reddit) by:

sudo nano /etc/hosts

Then edit the hosts files by adding, for example:

0.0.0.0    reddit.com

And save (ctrl+O). This is an easy change to make both adding and subtracting, but it will keep me from just randomly visiting a site just because I’m bored.

I still like to share pictures and share my adventures, but I want to make sure I’m conscious of when I’m choosing to do that, and not simply defaulting to wasting time under the thinly veiled guise of “getting some work done.”

Today is the first day, and it’s certainly already been a bit of a shock, which makes me feel even more strongly that it was the right decision.

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