Yesterday, I made a little experiment; the first baby step into what is known as a #DigitalDetox or #DigitalSabbath. I switched off my laptop, phone, and other devices in the afternoon, and I didn’t switch on again until this morning. A while ago, I found a Digital Sabbath website that explains why turning of technology for some time is healthy and useful because most of the technology we use follows addictive design patterns. Those can be harmful if we’re no longer in control, and instead, the technology is in control of us. On top of that, because we have non-stop access to entertaining content, we rarely experience boredom. A bored mind is often a prerequisite to a creative process. The website poses it as a challenge to make it one day for three months. I haven’t signed up for it yet, because I’m not sure where it fits best into my week, but I’m planning to take breaks more often.
Apart from that website, I also watched a video on YouTube this week titled “How I Tricked My Brain To Like Doing Hard Things” that describes a similar phenomenon, and I can highly recommend that video. It suggests something that goes beyond the digital detox, a “dopamine detox”. The method includes not just refraining from technology but also things like junk food or offline pleasure activities. It was another motivation for me to try this.
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology and social media and entertainment, and everything else this modern world has to offer. I talked about my relationship with social media already in the first post this year. It might sound hypocritical for me, as a technologist, to advocate for less. At the same time, I believe that what they say, sometimes “less is more”, is accurate as well. I used my time off to play a bit on the piano and also finally start reading one of the books that were waiting for me on the shelf for a long time and made progress in another. There’s more time to do the things you always wanted to do if you don’t spend time mindlessly scrolling on Twitter or browsing Netflix without actually deciding to watch a show.