That’s nearly a whole two weeks without social media. Well. In fairness, I can still dip in as “Nero’s Notes”, but actually, I haven’t. Hardly what one could call a lasting change yet, but already I’m feeling the difference.
Justin and I were discussing the false economy promised by social media apps on the phone. For years, I’ve been patting myself on the back for multitasking. Making tea? Do a quick tour of social media while waiting for the kettle to boil. Look at that! Dead moments turned into productive ones. While my tea steeps, I’m able to get up to speed on the latest battlefield developments in Ukraine, or what the new owner of Twitter has done to irk half the planet (again). Then I can get to work on my Ukrainian thesis. Oh. Wait. I’m not actually doing one of those. What was I doing again?
Now, if I’m making tea, I’m mulling over the thing I’m working on. Writing ? No, thinking, considering, exploring. Turns out that standing there doing nothing is a thousand times more productive than catching up with social media.
I’ve read my Cal Newport. I knew about the cost of context switching and the value of Deep Work, but somehow I’d slipped back into the always on, multitasking world. At the moment, I’m reading Stolen Focus by Johann Hari. Johann’s not afraid of presenting an opinion as a fact or indeed someone else’s opinion as his own, (something confirmed by a squint at his Wikipedia page), but much of what he writes chimes with my own experience. Are attention spans getting shorter everywhere? I don’t know, but mine is.
The long suffering Mrs L is an expressive. If you’re in a rush, best not ask how her day has been. You’re going to be there for a while. Somehow I’ve got into the habit of rolling my eyes, huffing and puffing, even barking “Is there a point coming?”
What an arsehole.
Mrs L is the most important person in my world. I’m so fond of her, I married her. (What she sees in me is a mystery). Listening to her should kind of be the point. Sure, she’s going to go around the houses, but that’s funny, and provides me all sorts of cues and hints to how she’s feeling and what I could be doing to help. Yet somehow, I’ve developed the patience of a petulant toddler. I’m self-aware enough to know that I can’t blame technology and information overload entirely, but I’m certain it’s part of it.
So - quitting social media is helping me be less of an arse to my wife. Who knew?