In July of this year, I quit twitter for the longest I ever have done. It was only about two weeks, but I did it properly this time, deactivated my account and everything. I can see your expression from here, I know this isn't an achievement to be lauded up, but it was pretty good for me. Having started to pull back in March, I had finally had enough. Every time I have tried to do it before, I failed. Finding myself checking the web app at least once a day. In many instances, I also just replaced Twitter with another social media platform, usually micro.blog.
Granted, I am using Twitter again, but reading Deep Work by Call Newport is making me want to pull back again. Perhaps not from everything like the extreme examples given in the book, but I find myself nodding along to the majority of the points raised. There is no doubt I experience some side effects discussed. All the signs are there. Struggling to focus sometimes, getting distracted by simple things, massive procrastination, the list goes on.
Frustratingly, this should have been already obvious having read The Shallows some years ago. I am becoming convinced that the modern connected world is running my brain, but I need it so much that I couldn’t even dream of long periods of deep work away from it all. I can’t put this all on social media, though. My, and in fact everyone's, relationship to email is broken. The unwritten expectation of swift replies has tormented me into time blocking my day to periods when I deal with email. Pushing everything else to the extremities does a lot for the work that I love.
There is no better feeling of contentment than becoming engrossed in a task you enjoy. Focussing on a topic you relish engaging with, otherwise why do it, and having no distractions to bring you out of flow state. Time disappears and projects get completed, simply by removing the triggers. Long ago, I accepted that I can’t go back to simpler times, but I can make my time simpler. I can go deeper into tasks and I get far more enjoyment from doing so. Not only from completing the task at hand, but more enjoyment when I do surface.
Roll this out to family time and other tasks that I love doing like photography and not only am I more engaged with what’s in front of me I am also enjoying social media more (email still sucks).
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