week #4 in an experimental year…

One of my rituals for this new year is to choose a word for the coming year.  My word for 2011 is EXPERIMENT.  You can read more about that here.    To support my EXPERIMENTAL focus, I commit to post the results of a new experiment each Sunday of this year.  I’ll warn you in advance, the movie rights for these Experimental Year post haven’t been sold.  Some of these experiments will seem larger than others.  Some will seem inconsequential – to you.   They won’t be to me though.  What they all represent to me is a willingness to learn, stretch and discover. As always, I welcome your comments, reactions and observations.

This week’s experiment was a surprising challenge.

I limited my online time to two hours a day.

This included ALL online time ~ e.mail, surfing, blogging, Pandora, I-Tunes, FB, etc.

Since I don’t have a ‘smart phone’, I really didn’t expect this to be a very significant gig.  Manoman, was I ever wrong!

For the first two days of this experiment, I kept a running list of the number of times I thought about or actually went to my laptop to the check on something (and didn’t).   The total for those two days was 127!

For the rest of the week, I just paid attention – without actually recording.

Most days, I set aside one specific hour each morning and night for online time.  One day I didn’t use all of my morning time – so ‘allowed’ myself a mid-afternoon ‘check in’.

Here are the biggest lessons I got from this week’s experiment:

  • even though I’m a massive introvert, I missed connecting with people;
  • I got MUCH more done (can’t remember the last time ALL of my laundry was caught up and put away ;));
  • I’m grateful I don’t have a smart phone – this experiment helped me notice how much it bugged me when someone was texting while in face to face conversation me.
  • I sooooooooooo missed listening to Pandora & ITunes;
  • I liked having finite times to respond/react to e.mails & messages;
  • I rested better each day;
  • the quiet left me feeling less stressed;
  • and I realized (again~DUH…) that some of what’s in front of me is under my control.

So here’s how this experiment will impact my life from this point on:

  • I’m giving myself four hours of online time a day (mostly for the music/podcast part);
  • I’m going to check/reply to e.mail/FB/Twitter three times a day;
  • I’ve set the mindfulness chimes I mentioned last week a little closer together;
  • I still don’t want a smart phone;
  • and the next time someone with whom I’m in conversation begins to text, I’ll say, ‘hey, I’ll wait til you finish your other conversation.’  This feels honestly direct to me.

I LOVE technology.  I understand 1/1oth of what there is of it out there.  I’ll continue to learn and use what I want.  And I still give first place to eye to eye communication.

How about you?  How does your online/virtual life balance with your EarthSuit/real life?

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4 thoughts on “week #4 in an experimental year…

  1. Lisa- I love this experiment! I have had to learn a new way to deal with my email since my email communication increased significantly with my new job position at work.

    Here is what I have learned:
    *Deal with each email message ONCE: read it and deal with it. Don’t open and leave it hanging
    *Establish set times and amount of times (your experiment) to deal with email and voicemail. I do my work check when I first arrive and then about a half hour before I plan to leave for the day.
    * I read and deal with work email ONCE each day of the weekend. When I left my weekend and vacation time emails undealt with, it took me a week to recover.
    *And I have reminded myself email is a tool for me; I am not its slave!

    So happy to see that your experiment had some surprising results!

  2. Wow!! Good for you!! And what a concept…face to face communication. I think technology is good to a point. Who said things would be easier with computers?? I don’t believe that for one minute. We have lost the art of communication and especially face to face time with the person across from us. I am struggling with the smart phone issue as it is time to replace my present phone. I have decided if I go the smart phone route, I will be the master of my phone, not everyone else that thinks I have to answer ASAP to their message. I plan to use it how I want to use it and not how everyone else thinks I should!!

  3. Judi, your e.mail handling tips are HUGELY helpful. i’m going to try them!

    Robin, SING IT, Sister! 🙂

    As always, thanks for your comments!

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