This is the third and final post describing my future plans for fasting on two fronts. The others are located here and here. The previous two posts focused on my need to fast, and the details of how I’m planning out my dietary fast. This post will outline my first cycle of re-evaluating my relationship with consuming media, through an ‘entertainment fast’.
The motivation from this comes from a concept that I read about concerning an ‘Information Fast’; wherein the person fasting stimulates their output and creativity by deliberately removing themselves from all forms of information input. The reasoning behind this being that in this age of fast information flow, it’s easy to become overly focused on getting a piece “just right” in planning before moving to execution. In academia this looks to me like “Oh I’ll just read a few more papers before getting started on my Lit Review chapter” and in my personal life like “Oh I’ll just look up a few more carving/smithing/etc videos before getting started on that project.”
For me, this methodology definitely holds true. By removing input and working only with whatever I currently have, I end up producing more things or just doing more things that bring my greater peace of mind. I mentioned in my earlier posts that my evenings were the nexus of fragility in my tasks, chores, routines, and goals. I’m tired by the end of the day and all I want to do is consume media. Usually this takes the form of TV shows and YouTube videos, and specifically I have an issue with consuming too much video media in my diet. Other forms of consumption bring a much deeper feeling of joy when I make time for them in my life, and I always seem to get more done in terms of chores when I limit video media.
My plan going forward then? I suppose I can outline things that I want to limit, and things that I want to increase.
- Cleaning / Tidying
- Handiwork hobbies
On the surface, it appears that the solutions going forward are obvious – Podcasts should take the place of video media as my immediate relaxation technique in the evening. I adore listening the Podcasts, I’m not sure exactly why. I like listening to people talk, I love the subjects that they deal with, I like how it gives my eyes a rest from a screen. Moreover, Podcasts also let me free my hands for doing stuff like Cleaning and Tidying, and also small handiwork things. Some handiwork things will require a degree of concentration meaning listening to Podcasts is not advised, but surely I can just carve out (heh) the space for them first and deal with the nuances later?
In terms of reading, I think that this will work wonders as well. Podcasts do a lot for me, but they’re substantially less “moreish” than video media. Largely because currently there’s very little prompting me to watch one more. With Netflix and Youtube there’s autoloading and suggestions – they’re actively trying to keep us hooked. I use a 3rd party app to parse Podcasts so I have a set number of channels that I like, and I construct my own queues. When they’re done, they’re done. That means when the queue ends at a predetermined time of the evening, I should have finished my chores and be ready to read.
My partner is around on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Luckily, Fri - Sun are basically “off routine” in terms of how I live my life, since a lot of my chores and goals can be met prior to the evenings on weekends. This means that for four days a week, I’ll be effectively creating a space for myself in my evenings where I only let certain things in, and no “Watch next” can derail me.
I’m excited for this – I’ll update people as and when it’s appropriate. Probably after a week, then probably after a month.