When I tell people I want to downgrade my BlackBerry to a basic cell phone, they look at me with horror. Not that they can’t believe I can live a life without a smartphone (because many do) but that they are hearing it from me.
Do you want to know how many times I used to pull the thing out of my pocket to check and reply to an email message or look something up on Google?
Do you want to know how many times I have left it in my apartment over the past two weeks when walking around town or driving to go shopping? I am forcing myself to not be electronically leashed to the machine and the regained freedom and increased productivity is making all the difference.
As I continue to read Leo Babauta’s minimalism book, “The Power of Less,” I am starting to make life changes that weren’t part of my life five years ago, let alone two. Lots of these changes involve technology.
- I have tweeted less, for instance, over the past week than all month. I expect this once- or twice- or thrice-daily Twitter behavior to continue, except if I’m at a conference or other event where nuclear tweeting is requisite.
- My Facebook time is also reduced.
- A useful bookmarklet enables to send email messages whenever I want without necessitating me to have a gmail window open; as a result, I’m checking/replying to emails less frequent than before.
- Related to the above cellular discussion, I’m muting my phone at times during the day when I don’t want to be disturbed — or screening calls and sending non-caller-id numbers to voice mail.
- I recently reduced my cable TV package to a $10 monthly “basic” plan and nixed the landline. Not only am I watching less mindless entertainment but I’m saving $60 a month with Comcast’s double play package instead of its triple.
- I am not reading blogs every day, and I’m continually unsubscribing from those bloggers who do not write specifically what I’m looking for. I’ll add that I want to read only those blogs (and read only those Twitter updates from users) who write content that enriches me and who I can learn from, not folks who write what I can read everywhere else. For instance, Katie Stanton and danah boyd are tweeting what I want to read, not everything under the moon, and that’s why I follow them. In the blogosphere, Keisha Easley and Brandon Cox inspire me with every post at We Blog Better. I stumbled onto the Middle Finger Project this week, and I’m equally addicted. (Both blogs are about minimalism and productivity, by the way. Sense a trend?)
- I’m also writing blog posts less, such as this one being my second all week whereas most of 2010 saw me write something every day.
I don’t know what tomorrow brings so I am living in the moment and doing everything I can possibly do to be free of those gadgets and distractions I didn’t have in the past. Some people tweet 50 times a day; I’ve been there, done that, and recognize it’s not for me. The same is true of Twitter’s parallels throughout the internet and technology.
I try to live my life under the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” mantra. I am hopeful that my present and future actions will help to simplify my life and to make the world a better place. What will tomorrow bring? How can I help you, also, do more with less?