For some reason I ended up with a lot of followers on Mastodon and I don’t know why to be honest. Every time someone follows me and I don’t follow them back I honestly feel bad about it. It’s not that I find most people boring or anything, it’s just that.. well. life. I guess.
Something unexpected happened to me recently, I was away from my computer for almost three weeks straight. Well. It’s perhaps not that unexpected—it’s not the first time I’ve been away from my computer (or even my phone) for longer periods of times—most of the times it’s only for a few days to a week or so though.
In periods I can sometime spend quite a lot of time on my computer. I really enjoy tinkering with my computer, Linux and open source software! I’m that person who sometimes gets a bit too obsessed about particular things and I can’t really let anything go before I’m done with it. This behaviour has actually led to a few years of some unhealthy multiplayer gaming about a decade ago, so it’s not something I take lightly on, even though I might sometimes joke about it.
This time away from my computer it felt extra good. I was partly busy with vacation for about one and a half weeks and partly just being home relaxing and watching movies with my girlfriend. I could have spent time with my computer as well, but I choose not to. I instead spent the time thinking about how I use my computer (and my phone), how I perhaps consume and process more information than I really want to and what the long term effects of that does to a person.
As an introverted perfectionist with a ever so slight touch of OCD, I’m really good at obsessively thinking about the same things over and over again. This is especially true for things that I find extra interesting. I’m constantly thinking about all the information I expose myself to via various ways that no one today is really used to. I also think a lot about what news feeds I follow, who I follow on social media, if I use social media too much and what all this does to our short term memory and our attention span.
Removing two of my three monitors over a year ago was a big step into the right direction for me in de-cluttering my life. It has honestly made some huge positive improvements on my productivity and what I like to call my hyper focus. I also recently realised that while my workflow had improved a lot, I still did some really weird things that younger me would never have approved. One of those things is leaving the web browser always running in the background even when I’m not using it. I know it might sound silly, but closing any application when I don’t use it does help me focus on what I’m currently doing. This is partly why I like minimal desktop setups, it’s just not exclusively about scoring Internet points amongst my fellow dorks.
When it comes to the news feeds I’m that person who can’t just leave them unread. I must read them to be able to relax and put them behind me so to speak. That’s actually why I’m very picky about what feeds I choose to subscribe to. I’m also that person who must read every single status message by the users I follow on social media. This is partly why I follow very few people on social media.
After my three week long break from my computer I realised that I didn’t really had any desire to read all the potentially new and fancy articles. I enjoyed the nothingness and all the extra time I had on my hands more than anything. I did eventually launch my feed reader Newsboat, but I closed it moments later after a quick glance of the new articles. I instead fired up my text editor Neovim with all my news feeds and I thoughtfully reviewed all of my feeds.
I have about 50 feeds in total, so it didn’t take that long. The feeds I have subscribed to are mostly weblogs and various tech and/or open source related projects and news sites. One of the first feeds that I removed was a Swedish news site that posts daily—multiple times per day—about everything from movie trailers, science and tech to politics. It was my one and only source to the ‘real’ world outside of my happy little ignorant eggshell.
I never really liked the amount of articles they managed to publish in a day and my filter for that particular feed had grown enormous over the years in an attempt to filter out uninteresting news that seemed even remotely recurring. I don’t have any TV-channels, I don’t read any newspaper (not even online) and I don’t listen to any radio, this source was therefor pretty good at giving me various highlights about the world and what was going on, but in the end I decided that it took more than what I gave back to keep up with them.
Since we have a limited quota of both time and focus to spend per day, I rather spend my valuable time on things that I find fun, that brings me joy and that keeps me productive!
So. I hope you don’t feel offended If I don’t follow you on social media as it’s nothing personal.