Having spent the majority of my time glued to one screen or another as if guided by some divine force, perhaps it’s time to step back from the digital divide and re-assess just how much of my life is being leeched by the internet. But that said, I can hear your mental outcry of “But Wolf, you’re a handsome, popular, well adjusted, successful and most importantly handsome freelancer. You NEED the internet” and you would be right. But lately I’ve been finding myself complaining that there’s not enough hours, days, weeks, time. And that’s the thing about black holes, what they fundamentally consume is time.
But despite knowing this, I remain my own worst enemy, as the simple act of stepping back from the screen is seemingly impossible for me. Just as the internet is a gaping maw consuming my time, I in turn consume all media of interest. It’ a trait that’s served me well as a writer of things about stuff, even at 4am on a Sunday morning when I need sleep, but I still don’t know everything about how hackers possibly backed by North Korea are attempting to prevent the launch of a certain Rogan/Franco movie that’s not to kind to Glorious Leader (you have been banned from /r Pyongyang) or how the OECD has rejected the idea of trickle-down economics (spoiler: rich people like to keep all the money for themselves) or the manufacturing process of Swiss cheese …
The problem can be summarised as such:
- Me: Ok, sleep time.
- My Brain: That’s fine, but consider this: We could just not do that?
Fast forward 8 hours and I’ve passed out in my own drool.
My own crippling (possibly obsessive compulsive in nature) media habits aside, as a freelancer the ability to be there for my clients to answer any and all demands at all times, is addictive. But the act of being ready to help somebody via social media feed #49832 or email and skype all the time, takes time away from those around us, and ourselves. The cost of this life style imbalance can be high and unrelenting, especially when it starts to affect your health….
All the more reason to drink the koolaid and actually take a step then. Because it’s only when we have disconnected ourselves from a situation, can we assess said situation. Once you’ve taken that first step, you may find it easier to spot that black hole eating all your time. Perhaps take a break from the constant social media refreshing? Actually take the time to catch up with your social life? Once you’re able to take a real look at how much you’re spending on each activity of your average day. It becomes much simpler to identify potential unhealthy time sinks.
The truth is, tech usage is so engrained onto my daily life, taking back that time and restoring balance is possibly one of the biggest changes I can make to my day to day life. To make matters worse it’s a change that grows harder to make in direct proportion to how aware you are of the problem. I found that, once I understood just how much tech my life revolved around – I got scared. I think it’s this fear that’s created the term “Digital Detox” that’s being thrown around so much these days. Get away from the city, go back to nature and leave the tech behind! People would tell me. Easier said than done, become my standard answer.
So long story short, I still have a tech based black hole destroying my time. However, I’ve grown aware of it now, and perhaps that’s all that’s needed to actually take back some control.
Wolf Vanberg has been stuck down a wiki rabbit hole since 2009