Earlier I wrote about my New Year's resolutions regarding time and technology. Since we're halfway through the year, it's time to evaluate how we're* doing.
While I have improved at spending time the way I want to, I need to be more honest about how much time actually exists. Being more honest with myself about how much I slack off/am capable of working has helped me to do more things I enjoy. This past spring I have taken up acrobatics, gotten involved with Graduate Women at MIT, been meeting new people, going to shows, etc. without taking a terrible productivity hit. A problem is that I often do too many things I enjoy, making it difficult to appreciate each thing (and to get enough sleep). My friend Geneva linked me to a Zen Habits blog post about slowing down and enjoying life more: I plan to take its advice about doing things more slowly and mindfully. I would like to arrive at an equilibrium where I am doing what I want and I am not rushing through life.
As the increase in my non-work activity has increased my volume of e-mail and phone communication, improving my relationship with technology requires more drastic measures. My goal is to limit my electronic communication and internet use to activities that enhance my experience of the physical world. Compartmentalization will be important in reaching this goal: separating productive use of technology (writing e-mails to friends, reading informative media pieces, etc.) from unproductive use (browsing online sales instead of going to bed) and separating time for engaging with technology from time for engaging strictly with the physical world. To get into the habit of interacting with the physical world I plan to have explicit, contiguous "off-grid" blocks of time when I don't use my phone or the internet: I am going to start with one hour each weeknight and five hours (at once, but either day) each weekend. I would like to reach a point where I can leave my phone and computer for extended periods of time without causing anyone (including myself) anxiety and where checking e-mail/Facebook is not the first thing I do every morning.
Here's to slowing down and enjoying life in the rest of 2010. :)
* Yes, editorial "we" again. ;)