It’s been a while since I’ve actively participated in a Catholic Lenten observance. For those of you unfamiliar, it is when people commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence.
I’m not generally too religious but I thought that I’d try and remove some luxuries for the duration of Lent. It starts on March 5th and ends on April 17th.
So for Lent 2014, I decided to give up media.
Generally, I’m not a big media consumer but I do enjoy a few guilty pleasures like listening to CBC on my drive in to work, consuming my favourite RSS feeds, and flippin’ through Flipboard when I have nothing to do. I’m not a big consumer of TV but I love movies and music. These days though my biggest media vices are podcasts and audiobooks.
It’s hard to disconnect from all of it.
So why cut out this all this goodness? I think that I’m getting to the point that there is just too much and I can’t process all of it. I want to have more meaningful and worthy interactions with people and I think that the over consumption of information combined with the ease and accessibility of a smart phone is starting to impact my interactions with people.
I constantly choose to instant message or text first, and if they’re not available via IM then default to writing an email. Last Friday, I found myself delegating tasks and answering emails in my office for 2 hours straight. It was oddly comfortable.
People might start to think that I’m just an IM window or an email robot and replace me with a small python shell script.
So what is the protocol?
I’m limiting myself to the books that I’m reading for my BHAGs and / or 40 minutes of TV to unwind at the end of the day (that’s two 30-minute shows or one 1-hour show sans commercials). Movies will be limited to family time but will defer to the family’s choices.
Social media and Flipboard will be limited to a specific weekly timeframe of consumption and scheduling. Writing will still happen daily, but I’ll need to rely on some people to ensure that these updates / blog posts make it online.
Internet will be limited to the few required areas but batched and limited to very specific times of the day. This includes but not exclusive to: JIRA, RememberTheMilk, Basecamp, Asana, Git, Onenote, and Outlook.
That’s it. Wish me luck!