Wednesday, October 13, 2010

filling the void

luddite living
i have now survived 2 days of my media cleanse. that's right: no TV, no random internet surfing, and very limited email contact. since i've also been tracking my time, which i think is adding to the usefulness of this experiment.

observations thus far:
not checking email has actually not been so bad. furthermore, i'm surprised by how few *real* (non-spam, non-advertisement) emails i get daily! when i do finally perform my allotted checks, it typically takes less than 5 minutes to go through my inbox and respond to anything that requires action.

i crave media. i have just been replacing electronic media for paper, spending my time reading. prior to this experiment, i went through books at a snail's pace, but in the past 2 days i have finished the perks of being a wallflower and made a significant dent in 168 hours.

i agree that television is not zen . . .

i am not convinced that reading books is inherently any 'better' than visiting sites and soaking things up on-line, but it is more focused and much slower-paced. i find myself thinking a bit harder, perhaps, but about fewer things.

i feel disconnected. i didn't imagine this would be an issue, but i find myself uncomfortable that i can't read my blog comments as they come in! i think, "what if someone writes something bad, and i won't be able to respond to it?" -- even though i can count the number of truly negative comments i've ever received on one hand, and i don't delete them anyway. also, this may sound crazy, but it feels odd not being able to check on my stats! gretchen rubin could have linked to me again and i wouldn't even know about it.*

maybe i do have more time than i think.

if i were allowed to shop online, i might be buying a swatch right now.

yesterday i spent 2 hours (!!) just reading (43 in the morning while eating breakfast, 65 while waiting for josh to get home from work before dinner, and 14 in bed). that is A LOT of free time, and this is on top of a full day of work (i left at 6:30 pm) plus a morning workout. before the media cleanse, i probably would have filled that time with reading blogs and an episode of desperate housewives. again, i'm not certain that reading is inherently 'better', but it did feel rather luxurious.

* this is an example of the effect of unpredictable positive reinforcement -- even though by checking my stats i only find out something cool like that once in a blue moon, i am lured back to keep checking in the hopes it might just happen again.

cleanse Q&A
mary beth asked yesterday:
Are you putting a time limit on your e-mail checks? Are you planning to catch up with all the blogs you missed during the week, or just declare "Google Reader bankruptcy" and start fresh next week?
-- no formal time limit, but i've just been trying to get in and out with no dilly-dallying. as above, i've been surprised that the checks have only taken 5-10 minutes each!

-- i have so many subcriptions (>100!) that i don't stay completely caught up with my google reader anyway, so definitely not. i have actually found that i like it better this way (by letting go of the idea that i'm supposed to have 'read' everything, i just read what i want when i want to).

anyone else planning to try this? i would love to read about someone else's experiences -- once the cleanse is over, of course!

100 dreams . . .
one of the exercises in 168 hours is to let yourself loose and just list 100 dreams for yourself, with no boundaries and no shame. no dream is too big (become president -- not my dream, but perhaps someone's!), too small (enjoy good chocolate regularly -- ahh, more my scene), or too ridiculous/impractical (grow shoe collection to mammoth proportions).

i'm not up to 100, but i found it to be thought-provoking and rather fun.



workout: 4 miles total with 2 @ tempo (8:00/mi, 0.5% incline on the TM) + 15 minutes weights. i timed it for my little experiment, and let me just say that those 15 minutes felt like 90 (whereas the run seemed to go by in 10)! i wish that i liked strength training more.

you know what's REALLY simple?: leftovers and not cooking at all! this is definitely a time-saver.

board prep: 10 PREP questions + review of 3 chapters (total 1 hr). yesterday i heard some boards-failing horror stories and i started to get nervous. but hey -- if my moderate approach fails, i guess it will just be an expensive learning experience.


  1. I am in the midst of frantic thesis writing, so I spend waaay to much time on my butt in front of the computer right now. I am thinking about you and feeling a bit envious of your media cleanse! I might go on a computer cleanse once I've dropped the book off at the printers. Great idea!

  2. I think it's interesting how you say that reading may not be "better" than surfing the internet, since I think most people would superficially agree with that statement. It just sounds better when someone says they read books a lot more than browsing the internet. However, I learn so much from blogs and hopping around the internet that I might never learn in books!

  3. I've never done an actual media cleanse, but I often mark everything as read in google reader. I find that life goes on even if I don't know what so-and-so had for dinner!

  4. Stacey8:18 AM

    I'm the complete opposite re: running and strength training. 30 minutes on the treadmill feels like a lifetime (outside is slightly better, but only slightly) and 45 minutes of weights speeds by.

  5. I need to see if I can reserve that book at the library. I love your 100 dreams. I love to daydream like that when I run.

  6. I forgot to mention one other mini media cleanse I do. I love me some NPR, but I don't listen to it in the AM. (I don't watch TV in the AM at all but same would go for any TV news shows). I listen to silly Top 40 "morning zoo," or I used to love Howard Stern when he was on regular radio (my husband makes fun of me for this - how can a feminist listen to him?) or I listen to sports talk. I can't hear about war and famine and foreclosures to start my day! I need levity in the morning!

  7. I really need to do this...I waste so much time just sitting in front of my computer thinking I need to do something when I really don't. I guess I'd have to only 1/2 do it since my whole business relies on the internet though. I love the 100 dreams idea & I can't wait to hear what you think about that book!

  8. I want to do this, too. Maybe it will make me work on my research and writing more. I may start slow and stop spending so much time watching tv and internet surfing at night. It will certainly be a challenge!

  9. It sounds like you're doing great on the media cleanse. I may have to try one...

    I did the 100 dreams list a long time ago at a success/leadership/whatever conference in college. It actually helped me clarify what I wanted out of my life, believe it or not. I would recommend it. It might be a great way to fill up some of your free time this week. I've also recently put together a 101 in 1001 project, but some of that is more like an extended "to-do" list.

  10. Anonymous6:28 PM

    I'm seriously contemplating doing a media cleanse. Today I've spent about 5 hours on internet, 5 hours working, 2 hours doing mindfulness and 4 hours chatting about: bags, coats, boys, pubs and running! I totally need to re-arrange my priorities!

  11. I have that journal!! :)

  12. This is a great idea, and kudos to you for trying it! I am traveling with my husband right now and he has the pc with him all day...which means no internet. I am surprised by how disconnected I feel!

  13. atilla11:09 PM

    I always wonder why when busy people do something like reading or as we call it acting like a normal people its considered odd or unusual in our daily life

  14. loved hearing your thoughts.

    amanda: i have considered writing a 100 in 1001 list! maybe i will . . .

    heather: yes, i have that 'half-working' mode too and i'm trying to do less of it :) the media cleanse has definitely helped, b/c you can't pretend to be working while reading or doing other unplugged leisure activities.