Should we worry about how digital our lives are? March 3, 2019 02:35 2 Comments

multitaskingPeter Korn, carpenter and Author of "Why We Make Things and Why It Matters", says he worries that that society is starting to understand humanity in digital rather than physical terms. And let's face it, you're probably reading this craft-focused email on your phone.  

But is the digital side of our lives always a problem? The world of craft is full of stories of communities built on Instagram, and for many of us social media is a giving and supportive environment. There's a lot that is wonderful about the digital world - try listening to the Digital Human podcast for some great examples. And although there is plenty of research, as a lay-person it's very hard to cut through the headlines and understand what's being said. In short, we are a the first humans to have the internet and to have it at our finger tips all the time and no-one knows what it's doing to us

However, I have a strong feeling that my phone and my laptop are not bringing me my best life at the moment! I expect, like radio and TV in the past, the idea that the internet is melting our brains is not true. But there is an element of the digital age that I think is incredibly destructive, and it's multitasking, and the demand to be constantly On. 

Up until I got my first smart phone, I could start something and work on it for days sometimes, zoning in intensely. Not now. Even if I turn off my phone, my powers of concentration have been eroded and my thoughts flit about horrifically. Sometimes there is such a flood of information and demands for responses that it is overwhelming. And the expectation that I can arrange a party, pay a bill and respond to a query in the digital world at the same time as I cook dinner and field questions about Lego IRL is ridiculous. The convenience of it is my undoing.  

So - I think the world can cope if I go back to doing one thing at a time, and here's my plan. 

Step One - Assess the Problem. I have an app called Toggle, which I'm using to track what I do. Actually, just tracking is changing what I do as feel compelled to stay on task just to make it easier to track! So far, an annoyingly large pie slice is devoted to "Dicking about on my phone" and I also see that I often spent less than ten minutes on a task before flitting to another. 

Step Two - Streamline. I've taken all my emails off my phone. In fact you may notice a new Auto-Response on our emails now. I can only check them in working hours (although you can always call our mobile if need help urgently) and I check them just 3 time a day. I think that's reasonable! The kids are getting used to hearing me say "Just wait a moment, I can only do one thing at a time". Social media is next...

Step Three - Motivate Myself. I love a challenge, so I'm using Forest to keep me on task. I'm still new to it but basically you grow virtual and real trees the more you stay on task! 

Step Four - Train! I'm going to practice doing things for a long time again. I'm going on a sewing retreat in two weeks time to kick start myself and I plan to re-learn the art of two hour focused sessions when I'm back.

And frankly that's it. Less is more in this case. 

Am I the only one with the goal of doing less? Anyone else trying to kick the habit of constantly doing and doing and not getting much done? If you've got tips I'd love to hear them (thanks Amber for the Forest one!)