I’ve seen a lot of articles analyzing the connections between technology, our  susceptibility to distraction, and our fear of quiet. Two memorable ones I’ve read in the last week:

First, a collection of notes from a seminar. My takeaways: the ability to be alone is a necessary ingredient for spiritual health (consider Christ rising before dawn to pray in the wilderness), for thinking clearly, and for creativity.

Second, a piece from the NYTimes that includes some  salient lines from Pascal.

These are helpful because they confront, shining light on the silly things to which we’ve enslaved ourselves. I’m considering making some changes in my schedule this year both at both work and home. Some ideas for starters:

  • Turning off my email notifications at work and confining my daily response writing to three windows of time. The main goal here is to minimize interruptions, but I’m also open to the idea that perhaps I pour more time into email than I think I do. We’ll see.
  • Checking personal email and Facebook briefly before work and only once in the evening. There are some goals I have for our family (e.g., reading and singing together) that haven’t been met lately, and I think these are the culprits.
  • Setting aside a weekly 30-minute slot for blog and web reading. I tend to pendulum swing on this; it’s either a time-eater, or I cut it out completely. Right now, I’m in a complete cut-out cycle, but scanning key blogs of others in my field helps me think and expands my horizons, so I’m building in a little time for it.

It’s becoming clear that if we’re going to avoid frittering away our lives on things we know very well are unplanned and unimportant, we’re going to have to order our time intentionally. What steps have you taken that have helped you keep tech stuff from becoming a distraction?

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