A historic year is over. 2020 is behind us. There were some terrible events and attitudes in society this past year. As a result, public perception seems to be that a putting 2020 behind us will also mean that we’ll also be putting the negative things to rest as well. The reality though, is that a change in calendar numbers won’t change people or politics.
For me, 2020 brought the realization that each of us have a responsibility to manage our own attentions. So often I’ve found my attentions controlled by others. I’ve allowed the Facebook feed, the Instagram feed, and the news feeds to hijack my thought processes far too often. Articles like this one come to mind. All too often I’ve dwelt on or been frustrated over things I have no control over.
So this year, I will reign in the technology I use. I will ensure that it serves me, rather than the inverse.
I will begin with my watch. I use an Apple Watch, and it’s actually an example of one item of technology that I’ve used well. I’ve kept its use focused on time, fitness tracking, and the occasional alarm or reminder. From time to time, SMS messages or email notifications have crept in, but I’ve managed to keep those to a minimum. I’ll keep that going with an even more strict rule set about what notifications can get to me via my watch.
Next is my iPhone, which has been far less under control. The social media apps have been a large portion of the attention suck, and Facebook was banished from my phone in June of 2020 as the negativity swelled to epic proportions. Yet I still find Instagram and others worming their way into my mind and find myself picking it up to mindlessly scroll far too often. I’m not certain what it’ll look like yet, but I will determine the primary uses for my phone and intentionally hinder the things that can be a distraction.
Finally, as a full time software developer, I’m on the computer a lot. Yet when I’m done with my job at the end of the day, I sometimes stay at my computer to plug away at side projects. My driving desire is so often to learn new things that I’m constantly building something or just testing out something new. Some new app in React. A personal CSS grid framework. My own component library. A node API for… whatever. There’s never not something to work on. I’m finding that I need to step back more often. The more time I’ve spent doing other things, the more creative I seem to be.
That’s it really. No hard and fast rules. Just a desire to be more mindful. I want to be present. Present with my family and with God. It can only be easier to do without the distractions of notifications and negativity. May God bless your 2021!