Device addiction has been an ongoing struggle for me. I’ve posted about attempting a home check-in policy here (which failed) and also about reverting to a dumb-phone here (which has been far more successful). Given the prevalence of smartphones and observing their increasing usage all around me, I knew it would be just a matter of time before people started attempting to do something about it. Now there’s a spoken word video that’s gone viral called Look Up. I didn’t actually get far into it, I don’t like doggerel at the best of times but I support the underlying sentiment.
So far, having a dumb-phone and a wireless-only 7″ tablet has succeeded in getting me off my device when out of the home. You won’t see me being of those people looking at their device in a restaurant, a party or anywhere social for that matter. On public transport, I read on my tablet but given that I can’t get any randomised data snippets that elicit such a strong dopamine effect, it feels much more like I’m back to the days of reading entire articles and books again. As for GPS, with the caching capability of Google Maps, the tablet seems to do quite ok.
At home though, it’s still a problem although I may have found the beginnings of a solution: the Economist’s audio version. Having spent $300 on a yearly subscription of the Economist (I’ve subscribed off and on over the years), a great side benefit is that it has an audio version which I can play over the speakers at home. This removes me from the screen and its attendant distractions, actually forces me to concentrate on an article (or have to replay it again) and also lets me do other stuff like cooking, cleaning or yoga at the same time.
It has the unfortunate side-effect of slowly but surely shaping my views to those of the Economist’s however – this being one of the reasons why I have stopped subscribing in the past. Now, if only my other favoured news sources have audio versions too.