A Digital Diet

As I’ve written about before – see my Computer Time post that I published last year – I think that part of being eco-friendly is about watching how much time you spend using technology. I am as guilty as anyone else at mindlessly staring at webpages, and as I wrote before, I’ve been trying to cut down how much time I spend on my computer, in order to help save energy and not spend so much time glued to a screen.

I realised how much I’d deviated from my original plans (again, see previous post), when I found myself knitting whilst browsing Pinterest the other day. And no, it’s not possible to do both at once, yet somehow I was trying to do it anyway.

I write a lot about eco-friendly products, and I realise that I do this because we live in such a consumer-focused world. So, as you’ve seen if you’ve been following my blog for a while, I’ve been also trying to explore ways of reducing how much I buy in the first place (see my Minimalism and Project 333 posts) which can often mean that I’m left with more time on my hands.

I’ve been without my computer for a day or so – such as on the National Day of Unplugging – but obviously that’s just one day. I want to try and incorporate that mindset into my day-to-day life; single days such as the National Day of Unplugging and Earth Day are great for raising awareness but won’t do much good unless they encourage people to bring eco-friendly values into their lives for good.

I’ve mentioned before a book called The Digital Diet by Daniel Sieberg. It takes you through thinking about what you use your technology for, and whether you truly enjoy it and use it in the way that would suit you best. You start off with a two-day ‘digital detox’ before moving on to gradually increasing what Sieberg calls your ‘e-day allowance’, as well as doing small exercises every day to help you think about how and why you use technology. I’m currently on ninety minutes per day, so I’m trying to restrict my technology time to match that. It’s a challenge, but I feel like it’s helping me to realise how much time I waste and how much electricity I’m using.

Even if you don’t buy the book, try thinking about your technology habits. Do you want to spend so much time reading online news or gossip or flicking through the Facebook homepage?

I’m hoping that by addressing my technology usage I’ll start thinking more about what matters to me both online and in the rest of my life. Technology is great, but it shouldn’t take over our lives at the expense of everything else! By thinking more about my energy consumption beyond a single hour, day or week, I’m hoping to reduce the amount I use whilst still enjoying myself!

Have you tried something like this before? I know that so many of the blogs I follow are full of photos of gardening, cooking, knitting and other simpler but enjoyable things in life, and I’m trying to follow this idea too! (N.B. a belated Happy Days post – see my first one here – will hopefully appear shortly!)

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4 thoughts on “A Digital Diet

  1. Four years ago I deleted my Facebook account because I felt like it was digital clutter in my life. On Sundays, I disconnect from all technology, including my phone. However, I use the computer almost 8 hours a day for work as well as for personal projects, but always seeking ways to cut down!

    • That’s a good idea, having a specific day each week to have down-time from technology. I might try that this weekend! I haven’t deleted my Facebook account but even before I started this digital diet I found myself using it less and less as it’s started to lose its appeal, and now I only use it occasionally to catch up with friends or share a photo or two.

  2. Great post! It’s funny because I have more free time than usual now, but still seem to run out of time, so I am looking at ways I unfruitfully distract myself from the things that matter most, like facebook or googling obsessively on a topic (beyond what is needed). Beyond wasting electricity, I feel electronic represent ways we distract ourselves from our passions, our true feelings, etc.

    Would you mind if I reblogged this with my own commentary?

    • I completely relate to googling obsessively – I do that a lot. And I find that I spend a lot of time pinning things on Pinterest but never get round to making that recipe, or knitting those socks, so it’s an aim of mine to finally use my pins in the ‘real world’.
      Of course you can reblog this, it would be great to read your take on it!

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