«In here, Mr Garibaldi, you can not hide from yourself. Everything out there has only one purpose, to distract us from ourselves, what is truly important. There are no distractions in here. We can learn much from silence.»
G’Kar to Garibaldi, in a prison cell, in Babylon 5: «Messages from Earth»
Given that many New Year’s resolutions are likely already broken (two of mine are), there is space for new ones. A while ago I did recommend taking a break from digital distraction every weekend — akin the the Jewish shabbat.
I found that whenever I did adhere to this ritual, my weekend seemed longer and I felt more rested during the start of the week. I was also more productive when it comes to reading.
I contrast to a completely technology free day (well, Friday evening to Saturday evening), I do use two pieces of digital technology — my castrated iPad mini 5 for reading and note-taking (does not contain the mail app, not even the calendar app), and my Apple Watch, because I like the activity measurements (I don’t use it to check mails, and it’s castrated regarding notifications as well). Okay, occasionally, I also use my phone and (very rarely) my MacBook. And I’ll try to turn off both this year.
The idea is to remove any externally paced activity — music (beats), videos (story moves along), social media (endless feed), heck, the Internet itself (countless distractions) — for a day.
Just to come home to oneself, hear oneself think, for at least a day.
If you want to try something similar, I can highly recommend to at least try it (with perhaps a way for people to contact you if they really need to).
If you want to use the Shabbat times, which depend on the local sunset (+ some time until stars are visible) it’s pretty easy to do — thanks to, ironically, digital technology. But it cool, as it brings some variety in it. You find a calendar that can be localized on hebcal.com. I configured it for my home city (Lübeck, did deselect other holidays under settings) and did download the Apple Alternate option (“Download hebcal_2021_Luebeck.ics”). Just open the file on a Mac and you can add it into the Calendar App (I use a separate “Rituals” calendar for it). But of course, there are other options (Google, Outlook, even CSV export) as well. You have to remove a few days that are not on Friday/Saturday though.
With the reminders before the event, you can stop working, put the technology away, and uncouple for a day from the unending stream of digital information.
Hmmmmm. A day of rest.