Over the last few days I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to the power of Slow. I was led to Christine Hohlbaum’s blog by another great blogger, Lisa Rivero whose Writing Life always has something of interest.
Basically, the power of slow is all about gaining time in life by behaving more mindfully, more in tune with how life should be, more calmly and more thoughtfully. Since I have been plagued for eighteen months now (ever since I properly discovered online life and social media in general) by ever less time to achieve what I want to achieve creatively, I had to get the book and read what Hohlbaum has to say.
I’ve not suddenly become aware of how technology distorts and upsets life. Long ago I gave up tv: particularly serials and soaps. Anything, in fact, which might make me not do something else. Even with catch up tv these days, you never get time to catch up.
And even before that, working as a lawyer in the City, I watched during the 1980s and early 1990s as telex was superseded by fax and fax was superseded by email and two or three travelling working drafts for a deal became innumerable word processed drafts before completion and the working day became 24 hours.
So it’s fair to say I’ve had strategies in place for two decades to limit the sinister and pervasive adverse influences of technology on my life, but nothing prepared me for the assault of social media.
For the whole of 2011, I was on a mission to try and manage a productive daily routine including social media communication and review of the vast amount of wonderfully informative and valuable material landing on my various devices from Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds and emails. Frankly, I failed.
I have found the digital creep insidiously worrying. It doesn’t help that I love blogging and I use digital media in my work. It is really hard for me to switch off and limit use. It is particularly hard because I don’t want to switch off and limit use. Life in many ways is richer and funnier and more enjoyable as a result of social media.
So of course it’s all a question of balance and determining what is reasonable time to spend flicking through, actively engaging and how often during the day I should open up the beckoning app.
Having decided that, the next challenge is to develop the new habit. Hohlbaum’s book has some great ideas on this, and I have made copious hard copy notes using a real pen. I felt it important to read the book with my full engaged attention: after all, the reason I have reached crisis point is that I am finding it ever more difficult to just sit and read books without looking at my phone every five seconds.
Enough is enough. And to tackle my professional digital dilemmas, I am running a blog project which consciously eschews digital safety nets and easy effect. Click on the #adailyselfreflection link if you would like too know more about this.
I will be reviewing progress in a few weeks. Watch this space.