After a solid two weeks of no Facebook and Instagram, I’m starting to see it’s not really jsut the avoidance of using the two, but more so this:
Tnat is all, moving along now…nothing more to see here.
The weekend is gone that quick…what else is new? It was a good one nonetheless, outside of my broken sleep patterns via trying to see the launch on Saturday morning. It was a success this morning at 3:30 am or so (I didnt wake up for it, but will be checking out the replay when I get to work tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a shot of the Delta IV heavy lofting Parer Soar Probe into space, courtesy a Twitter post:
Question…how many of you are into tracking your quantified self? I’ve been using an app called Gyroscope, the free version. I primarily use it as an add-on to my Apple Watch fitness track data. Gyroscope has some great features and a privacy mode, but as with many apps, I often wonder how the collected data is being used. The quantified self movement was very big some years ago and a friend of mine on Twitter is actually featured on Gyroscopes site as an avid user of the paid app. We had an interesting discussion about what he thinks about all the many types of quantified data he shares. In short, I’m still not certain if I could go to the extent of data sharing that he (or many do), even though we have our “always-on” mobile phones. From my understanding, the whole aspect of tracking one’s quantified data is to make improvements to yourself over time. It’s the data aggregation aspects that still don’t sit 100% well with me, though I admit there is lot to be seen from such data over time. Id be interested in your thoughts.
On the productivity front, I came across another interesting article that I was discussing with DarrenKeith, my brother in podcasting, blogging, and tech. Ironically, I received the latest Fast Company in the mail yesterday. There is a sidebar to an article in there that speaks to the subject of this article – Why productivity isnâ€™t the only thing your smartphone is stealing from you. I think there are points in it we all can relate to. FB and IG are creating ways to cause us to spend less time on our mobile devices and there are a lot of apps that are made to do the same (although that whole approach seems like an oxymoron – spending less time on your phone my checking apps that help….that are on your phone….ok.). Then there is this approach of changing your mobile phone’s colors to grayscale. Supposedly this is less appealing than the colors we adore (there have been studies) and as a result, we’ll want to look at them less.
My solution – just put the phone down.
Have a good week.
A fair amount of things are on my plate at work, but I kinda fell back today to spending a little too much time on Twitter. I gathered a lot of resources with respect to the #100DaysOfCode campaign I’m involved in, but nonetheless, I’m bent on maximizing the insight I can out of this sabbatical. I was telling DarrenKeith that after nine days in, I’m starting to realize it wasn’t necessarily the need to kill the habit of constantly scrolling social media solely…now I’m starting to see the component also involves how much I keep checking my phone for way more than making/receiving calls. That, in itself, is a factor in the grand scheme of this experiment.
I found another article today that addresses this very same mindset…and some of it, no…a lot of it, walked right down my street: Why productivity isnâ€™t the only thing your smartphone is stealing from you
There are tons of articles out on the interwebs like this, yeah, I get it, but there are a few points here that really resonated with me.
1. Dopamine has us hooked on tech.
We receive small shots of dopamine we receive every time we open a notificationâ€¦check for text replies, scroll the net, etc. Instead of letting the mind be quiet or think on or of other things, or even being bored (*gasp*), human nature sets in, feening for that rush.
2. If you work a 9â€“5, I would go as far as to say that it wouldnâ€™t be a bad idea to leave your smartphone out in your car and only allow yourself to check it during lunch and then again after work.
I tried this – even bought a Trac Phone to have my calls forwarded to me at my desk during the day. I have to say it did work, and I began to see this next point, owever, after the timeframe I bought ended, it was back to taking my phone into the building.
3. As you spend more and more time away from your phone, what you will find is that your focus sharpens, your quality of work improves drastically and your creativity runs wild.
Here’s a prime example. I will admit that I have always carried my phone everywhere I went – even into the rest room for that “breaktime” where I could check social, etc etc. Over the last two days, I stopped that. Today, I went down the first floor, taking the stares, and clearly got the vision of something that is going to help me better achieve the solution of a problem I’m working on. Had I been getting that dopamine shot as usual, I might have missed that opportunity.
My desire is to go back to #2 in order to minimize the effect of #2 so I can widely realize #3.
Time for some coding.
One week, people. This is the longest I’ve gone without Facebook and Instagram together. In this one week, I’ve learned some things, been enlightened, etc. One of the things I HAVE noticed it is this – it’s not necessarily ONLY the time spent aimlessly (sometimes, that is) scrolling social media BUT the time spent on the phone doing it. The more I have the phone on me, the more prone I am to scroll these sites, eating up my time. By habit, I still pick up my phone to do it when it appears I have idle time (which, in reality, I rarely do), only to remember those apps are no longer on my phone. That said, the habit not to do it (because I can’t) is slowly starting to form.
I don’t access FB or IG at work, so I’m starting to realize I don’t miss them as much as I thought I would. At least, what I believe will happen is, whenever I do go back to using either site, the habit will be formed that I will spend far less time on them – at least that is the desire. In light of things, over the past two days, I’ve been thinking about this:
Instagram, my personal feed to be specific, is what I am thinking of deleting. It’s strictly where I share photos BUT what is it netting me? Instagram has some fantastic photography, don’t get me wrong, but it is really more of a social media site and a branding tool. *I* am not a brand. Yes, I’ve found content worth reposting and hope that my content is worthwhile (I’ve been told by a follower that my positive contributions to his feed) as well. I get that, and I appreciate it, but again, what is it netting me? How is it helping me move forward in attaining any specific goal? I’ve told many of my disdain for certain aspects of IG – bot followers, bot friend requests, having to delete followers that post things I really don’t care for: viral videos, overkill memes, etc (none of which I can control), but I still love the beauty of photography, without the social media mess that comes with it. Filters, yeah they have their place, and one is not forced to use them, but again, they are another feature that I can live without.
Flickr, on the other hand, is where I started sharing photos prior to IG. It now offers 1TB of storage, shows the EXIF data of every pic you upload, has specific user groups, and has, what I consider to be, better user commentary without the social media branding and foolishness. I’m considering getting a digital SLR sometime in the future, as my love of photography is returning, The current camera I have is a Nikon Coolpix L810. Nice camera that my wife gave me for a gift 4 years ago, but it has a fixed lens and it’s not as fast (mechanically) as I’d like so…
I do have a fitness account on IG which I will keep, as well as two music production sites that are strictly branding tools, but for my personal Instagram, that may very well be going by the wayside. The thought process continues…
I’ve had some interesting discussions with DarrenKeith about the constructs of Facebook and ironically just came across this blog post about a construct called Blogmesh (see the last paragraph and associated link). Sounds promising for those of us that like to blog.
Thanks for the read,
Ahh yes…Saturday greetings. Hope yours is going or went well. I got up later than I wanted to (if you want to call 8:30 am late). Getting up no later than 7am on a Saturday (a free one, where I don’t have to go choir musicians rehearsal at 8 am), is what I like to do because it seems like I get more out of the day. My body this morning, on the other hand, thought differently. In any event, I got up, with my phone by my bedside, and realized and remembered that I deleted the Facebook and Instagram apps – which means that there is nothing to scroll through as I used to do so many mornings before even getting ready for the day. The Twitter app, however, I still had on my phone for the convenience of posting my #100DaysOfCode status.
I went downstairs, made breakfast (omlettes) and proceed to eat and decided to click on the Medium app to see if there were any interesting stories to read. Once again, ironically, I came across this one: The Benefits of Unplugging and Choosing To Be Present. Of course, this was a must read. Yeah, I know, there are plenty of similar stories out there on this very topic…I get it, but I still choose to read each one I come across, just in case there is a new perspective not formerly mentioned. What I found reiterated in this story is this (because it walked right down my street):
“For everyone else who finds themselves pulling out their phone when they have a free fifteen seconds, this was eye-opening. It seemed as if every free moment, Iâ€™d reach into my pocket looking for a convenient distraction. And sacrifice any opportunity for deep reflection. In the words of Dr. Daniel Levitin:
â€œEvery time you shift your attention from one thing to another, the brain has to engage a neurochemical switch that uses up nutrients in the brain to accomplish that. So if youâ€™re attempting to multitask, you know, doing four or five things at once, youâ€™re not actually doing four or five things at once, because the brain doesnâ€™t work that way. Instead, youâ€™re rapidly shifting from one thing to the next, depleting neural resources as you go.â€
I say reiterated because earlier this year, I read one of the most compelling (to me) books on productivity that I’ve come across – “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. I turned my friend, Calandra Branch on to this book as well She read it and can attest to it’s greatness. In this book, Cal mentioned the same thing but in slightly greater detail. In Chapter 1, he writes about what scientists believe the foundation of why deliberate practice works – myelin.
“Myelin is a layer of fatty tissue that grows around neurons, acting like an insulator that allows the cells to fire faster and cleaner…This new science of performance argues that you get better at a skill as you cevelop more myelin around the relevant brain neurons, allowing the corresponding circuit to fire more effortlessly and effectively, To be great at something is to be well myelinated…it provides a neurological foundation for why deliberate practice works. By focusing intensely on a specific skill, your forcing the specific relevant circuit to fire, again and again, in isolation…The reason, therefore, why it;s important to focus intensely on the task at hand while avoiding distraction is because this the only way to isolate the relevant neural circuit enough to trigger useful myelin.”
Whether you believe in this neurological correlation or not, I happen to believe its true by experience (he also writes about “attention residue” – when multitask, there’s a “residue” from the previous task that will lessen the attention/focus you will spend on your current task. The key is (as illogical as it may seem to some, is to avoid the facade of multitask (seemingly getting more things done in less time( and create time blocks to do focused work in sequence. Intense focus during a block of time leads to great productivity.
The whole reaching for the phone thing in any bit of free time applies to me. Thinking I was using that time to constantly learn more in my free time is a logical thought, but truth be told, more of that free time (small as it may have been at times) I found myself scrolling and participating in social media. For that reason, this morning, I deleted Twitter from my phone as well.
As a result, what I REALLY noticed in day 4, is that I had less reason to want to carry my phone around with me. It made me realize that it was JUST the social media apps on there, but the need to want to use the phone to connect virtually anywhere besides social media. It was a necessary and revealing thought. Today the phone was with me less and less. As for Twitter, I’l post my coding status via computer only.
Thanks for the read…
Day 3, baby… It was a good day, productive at work. This particular spacecraft mission I’m working on is getting busier, especially with my immediate boss down at KSC supporting the Parker Solar Probe launch activities (we launch on a Delta IV on 11 August – hopefully we don’t slip).
In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the belief that when you drop off social media, for whatever reason, *generally* you’re not really missed for a number of different reasons – folks busy with their own social media movements, folks busy with life, etc. DarrenKeith, who’s also on this sabbatical for the same reason, mentioned that sometimes you ARE actually missed. I replied in agreement. Interestingly, before he made that comment. I got this DM via Twitter:
It not only showed me that DarrenKeith was on point in his reply, but it showed me that how I roll on social media IS actually noticed, even if never publicly said. Good thing, yeah.
So yeah, Twitter is the only social network I’m still using for my 100 Days of Code progress status. Originally, my plan was to auto-schedule my status posts via Hootsuite, but I decided to keep the Twitter app on my phone for convenience. The one *issue* I see I am still having with this is….I’m still seeming to scroll tweets beyond what notifications or replies I’m getting via my progress status post. That said, I think I’m going to remove the app from my phone. Why? One of the other reasons for the sabbatical is to reduce the “phone addiction” EVERRRRYONE knows how convenient it is to scroll social media, play games, read news, whatever, via this mobile device. In short, my approach is to use the phone for what it was originally designed for – to make and receive calls. In other words, put it down – stop walking around with it.
Ironically, I got this email today about how Facebook and Instagram are developing tools to help the user spend less time on the phone. While this is not brand new, and I understand the intent, for the most part, I’m like….”Yeah, right”. The concept is oxymoronic to me. In summary, I agree with the last two sentences of the last paragraph:
“For some users, it might be enough to make social media feel nice again. But for most of us, it won’t do much to slow the scroll.” If you’re interested in the article, you can check it out here.
That’s it for now…
::: oceans of rhythm :::
Here we are again. Over the last month (particularly the latter half), I began to take stock of how much time I was spending time on social media and what the spent time is actually netting me and allowing me to move forward to achieve the goals (of many sorts) I’d like to achieve. In other words, what’s my return on investment (ROI)? In the grand scheme, I determined that ROI wasn’t amounting to as much as I’d it to be.
How did I come about that decision. I reached it in two ways. The first was noticing how many times each day I looked at wasn’t completed on my to-do list and the amount of times I complained that if I hadn’t spent the time posting, reading, and scrolling my social media haunts (primarily Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), I would have accomplished more on that list.
Sure some of that surfing/reading allowed me to gain some knowledge about some things that would benefit me now and in the future, BUT, it still left me lacking in the completion department.
That said, I decided to get off all three for the entire month of August (the exception being posting to Twitter with regards to the rules of the #100DaysOfCode campaign I’m involved in. My long time friend, fellow geek, and podcaster, DarrenKeith Wyatt, has vowed to take the same sabbatical with me, so I guess you can call us “accountability partners”.
We’ll see how far this thing takes us, day by day, in hopes of providing a true picture and realization of just how much spending time on social media (more importantly how you spend it) can affect (negatively or positively) the forward motion, productivity, and goal reaching you hope to attain
Thanks for the read.
::: oceans of rhythm :::