Digital Declutter experiment for April

I'm trying an experiment for April. I'm going to try and do a "digital declutter". That's where you remove all of the non-essential applications, sites, and digital interactions from your life and replace them with more creative or personal experiences. An example is instead of using social media to keep in contact with folks you instead make time to go out for coffee to catch up. The idea is to be more concious of our use of technology without being used by the technology.

My intentions for the upcoming month are:

  • Reduce my use of social media to only a few times per day. Where possible I will use third-party clients to access them (tootstream in particular, which (funnily enough) is software that I help maintain. For sites where I can't best use a third party client (Diaspora, Discord, etc. ) I'll choose a time to check them once in a while (maximum once per day). The reason I'm not completely cutting off things like Mastodon or Pluspora is because I cross-post my blog to these places, and for some friends it is the best way to keep in touch with them.

  • No social media on the phone. Tusky is an amazing application, but I'm keeping all of my social interactions on the computer or via SSH.

  • No podcast catcher on the phone. Instead I'll use the Squeezebox or listen to a book. Or listen to music.

  • Disengage from Reddit. I've whittled down my subscriptions for Reddit to only include the places that I'm an active moderator. Reddit tends to be addicting to me because the posts tend not to have all of the content, and I'm addicted to the comments sections of these sites.

  • Utilize RSS more for keeping up with sites, but don't spend more than once a day reading RSS feeds. I adore RSS feeds for keeping up with sites, but sometimes I've caught myself hopping from my email inbox to my RSS folder (which is also in my email client).

  • Cutting back on the number of times I check email. It's almost reflexive for me to pull up my email client whenever I'm bored. Instead I'll review my GTD lists for things that I want to complete, or find other means of entertainment.

  • Cutting out Youtube. I can get so wrapped up on Youtube loops it's not even funny. It's like mini-cable. I do have my Youtube subscriptions in my RSS feed reader so I can still keep up, but I will be more intentional on how I engage with Youtube (ideally never visiting the site itself and looking at recommendations).

I'm planning on replacing these tasks with:

  • Creating more with Godot. I'm looking to spend more time creating with Godot in the coming month, so my hope is that whenever I'm feeling bored I'll instead pull up Godot and the tutorial and have a go at learning.

  • Writing / designing more. Actually publishing things would be a nice change in my lifestyle.

  • Administration. I need to desperately upgrade some machines before they are out of their support window.

  • Reading. I have a backlog of books that I'd like to read through. I'm also finding that the best way for me to tidy books is by trying to read them. Let's just say that some books on my shelf really didn't "spark joy".

  • Tidying. I'd like to not have to keep make excuses for my office or our basement. Someday I'd like to actually have people over to play games in our basement. That would be lovely.

  • Playing games. If I want to keep up with this game designer business I might want to actually play some games to get some ideas. See also: finding out which games can find new owners.

  • Interacting with other human beings. I hear that's all the rage now.

This is an experiment. I'm sure there will be false starts, setbacks, and statistical anomalies abounding with this whole process. But I'm willing to make the effort and try. I hope you'll enjoy reading about this experiment in the coming weeks.