Crafting a Digital Wellness Charter
What is this?
Guidance and a template to help you be intentional about your relationship with technology. Experiment with this to help you focus on the work and pursuits that align with your unique skillset and personhood.
Why does it matter?
It's no accident that we're addicted to our devices (digital products and services relentlessly compete to capture and exploit our attention via ad-driven persuasive design)
We're existentially and emotionally indebted to tech and software without societal norms and strategies that put us in the driver's seat to take back our time and attention
Being present and focused on our work, life admin, and leisure time (without multi-tasking and context switching), is better for cognitive functioning and mental health
Questions that keep me up at night:
What is lost when the persuasive design infrastructure that gives us connection and music and visual snapshots of our joy, is optimized not to promote leisure and reflection, but inferiority, fear, and loneliness?
Will digital natives (all those lovely pandemic babies we’ve not yet gotten to hold) have structural, cultural and personal strategies for seeking their own counsel? How can they develop as individuals and "be alone" when there is always someone on the internet available to respond and share a reaction or opinion?
How can we as individuals harness technologies and tools in order to have them work for us?
How to craft your digital wellness charter:
Create your Digital Wellness statement of purpose: What's your desired state for your relationship with technology? There's no right way to observe. "Comparison is the thief of joy."
Conduct a personal time audit
Schedule 30 minutes to do this on an average day (say Tuesday) in the evening
Get a piece of paper (analog is your friend)
Write down and reflect on how you spent each hour (meetings, texting, eating at your desk, answering email)
Write down which activities gave you energy, which drained you, and why
Make two side by side lists with the activities that fill you up/deplete you. One list we might call "medicine" and the other "junk food"
Use your audit as a guidepost to help you notice your patterns of excitement and burnout
Consider your daily (especially morning) routine in relationship to tech
How can you build balance and nourishment into your day based on your audit?
What are the specific actions you can take to experiment with the adjusted routine/balance?
What would make your technology touch points less interesting, reflexive, and reactive?
My aspirational Digital Wellness guidelines
Digital Wellness statement of purpose: I am intentional about the ways in which I spend time with technology in order to be more deliberate about creating inspiring off-screen time. I utilize the rather wonderful digital tools, rather than the tools using me.
Actions I've taken or experiment with:
Slept with my phone charging in a different room
Used an non-digital alarm clock (I've taken a clock out of my room altogether it this point)
Established a morning routine that involves writing morning pages, meditation, and walking outside sans phone
Personalized my call and notification settings (no notifications for text messages)
Set away messages for texts when driving, working, or need a digital break (See below. for iPhone you can set an auto-response if you enter driving)
Deactivated social media accounts (aside from Twitter, for which I have no app)
Consumed news during specific hours/pockets
Gently optimized for sleep by taking a screen break at least an hour before bed
I get an hour + more sleep a day
I am getting into bird watching
Resources and research