Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do


Aiming for analogue - switching off my phone

ways to unwind

Do you remember the 1970s children's tv programme, Why Don't You?

The full title was Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead? and it encouraged children to do exactly that, take up hobbies, explore, move about a bit.

It was one of the few tv programmes my Dad approved of.

Recently the theme tune started to swim around in my head. "Whyyyyyy don't you Go! Go! Go!?" and I decided that it was a hint to do something about my Internet habit.

I have a tendency to be a workaholic - I always have been.

I easily become addicted to the idea of 'busyness' and to spend my evenings rabbit holing around the internet and not getting anything actually done.

I deny this, I proclaim that it is customer service or research or vitally important Facebook lives (on whatever I NEED to know this week to get my business to thrive).

I know that it is none of these things, it never has been.

Whatever it is has, however, got worse this year. My need to increase visitors to this website means that I am trying to learn completely new technical things around Search Engine Optimisation and Pinterest Algorithms and Instagram Stories and Stop Motion Animation and on and on and on.

At the moment I have a massive problem with feeling overwhelmed, and a big part of that is constant access to too many things, too many possibilities, too many options.

I decided to introduce a digital curfew. To switch my laptop and phone off when I sit down to eat at night and not to switch them back on until after breakfast the next day.

The idea is to spend more time unconnected to the Internet than I spend connected.

I am 11 days in.

The only important thing I have missed so far is a message from my eldest daughter. When I didn't answer within my usual 90 seconds she resent it to her sister who came and told me.

As long as I can't see my phone I don't think of it.

There have been a few 'I'll just google that' moments but they are getting fewer (and everyone else in the house still has their phone on so, if it is that essential, there tends to be someone else already typing in their query).

But the main difference has been focus.

I still work in the evenings, I love my work, but it is the kind of work that nurtures - reading, drawing, journalling - rather than the 'too many tabs open' work that depletes.

If I don't have a laptop switched on then I can't check emails or orders or Facebook messages. If I don't have my phone lit up next to me then I can't scroll Instagram or Pinterest.

It has been interesting watching what makes me crave that dopamine heavy refresh of the Facebook page.

It tends to be when whatever I am doing gets difficult. I can't get a flower to look like a flower, I'm struggling to understand a chapter of a book, I discover a mistake several rows back in my knitting.

I was using that online distraction to completely sabotage whatever it was I had decided to do.

I'm now realising that a lot of my stress, this constant feeling of low level panic that has tinged this year, has been coming from the way I used the Internet. My brain is busy with several things at once when I am online, a fidgety multi-tasking; refreshing, reloading, switching between tabs - using up and fragmenting my attention.

Now I am making an effort to relax into my analogue evenings (which still include Netflix so my definition is rather loose).

I seem to have a lot more time. I seem to have time to be in the garden and walk the dogs, time to visit friends and knit and read and still watch Homeland with a glass of wine at 9.

That refresh button has been eating my time. No wonder I never got everything on my 'to do' list done.

What is working for me (11 days in!)

  • Switching my phone and laptop off at a specific time - for me that is evening meal time which is a great divider between day and night.
  • Actually switching devices physically off - not relying on my willpower, as that is very weak.
  • Moving the laptop and phone to another room, out of sight.
  • Telling friends that I'm no longer contactable in the evenings so that they don't assume I am ignoring them.

I would love to know how you deal with overwhelm and phone addiction - please leave your tips in a comment.

If you enjoyed this post you might like to read this one too.

Tags: life

Comments: 2 (Add)

Kathy chappelle on April 2 2018 at 18:05

Facebook messenger pinging whilst I was out at a concert highlighted my need to slow down as well as many other signs... I felt quite panicked when it would ping, so I have removed myself from group chats. This has helped some and I mute my phone at night.
I am considering deleting Facebook and other social media... I'm not sure yet!
Glad to hear Jane that it is working so far for you.

Julie D on April 2 2018 at 18:41

Love this one Jane... Too much Internet can make me feel queasy... I agree that out of sight out of kind is a good approach x

Snapdragon social

Engagement, connection, community, regeneration, celebration, magical, possibility.⁠⠀
Words matter.  Words matter so much. ⁠⠀
Yesterday I walked around a new local community garden that I am to be involved in.  I walked the site with Lauren @herbal_homestead (who looks after @katgoldin ‘s market garden at the Gartur Farm School) who is the permaculture consultant for the project.⁠⠀
The words at the top of this post were the words that were tumbling about as we walked along the stream that edges the plot and discussed the contours and what the potential is for this new space.⁠⠀
I have missed those words a lot.⁠⠀
Elderberry vinegar, a brilliant natural immunity booster and treatment for sore throats, is steeping in my cupboard at the moment - the colour is so vibrant it is obvious that it MUST be good for you.⁠⠀
It is one of the things you learn to make in the Simple Herbal Apothecary course in the Studio Club. ⁠⠀
It is really funny how having a Pay What You Can option for membership has made me feel that I can talk about what you get in the Studio Club without feeling all 'exclusive' (I hate that word because, when you think about it, it actually means that some people are excluded and that we are fine with that).⁠⠀
The Pay What You Can option has been really popular - second only to the Full Membership - which makes me very happy. ⁠⠀
I've had a lot of emails from people who had been looking at joining the Studio Club for a while but couldn't justify the cost - because unemployment or illness or caring for others restricts their budget - but who have now been able to join.  So if that sounds like you the details are all on the front page of the website -⁠⠀
Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
Give me an unexpectedly free evening and my natural tendency is to waste half of it deciding what I want to do MOST.⁠⠀
(This is why I created the Plan your Dream Life workbook for myself - just so that I would have a list of things that I knew I had chosen to do when time appears - if you don't have this workbook already you can get it by signing up to my newsletter list⁠⠀
What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
Messy edges.⁠⠀
Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
Yesterday, as I headed down through the meadow to light the studio stove, were dozens feeeling atop the teasel heads.
It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
Yesterday the doors of the Studio Club opened up to new members again. ⠀
If you want to engage more with the natural world, live a more seasonal life, learn how to grow things, make things and also hear good news about inspirational people making a positive difference to the world - then this is the Club for you! ⠀
There are now three ways of becoming a member - a Full Membership which includes physical products, a Digital Membership and a Pay What You Can Membership. You can find out more about them by clicking though my profile or at ⠀
In less than 24 hours over half the Full Memberships sold out - so if you are thinking of signing up for one of those then I would do it sooner than later. ⠀
Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.

About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.


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