Phil Gyford


Wednesday 7 January 2004

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Having spent much of the holiday fortnight in computer-free peace and quiet, getting back to the relentless stream of email, spam, weblogs, etc, while listening to the road being dug up, is less than a joy. As I wait for the 60 spams that arrived overnight to download, I can’t help thinking of Newman’s rant in Seinfeld:

Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming, there’s never a let-up. It’s relentless. Every day it piles up more and more and more! And you gotta get it out but the more you get it out the more it keeps coming in.

Maybe this year I should make more of an effort to at least keep weekends mostly free of computers.


Okay, I know I keep banging on about this, and there's a whole load of baggage attached, but the point stands:

The Sabbath is good for you.

Once a week I have 25 hours where I don't check mail. Sure, I'm checking mail right up until it starts, and I usually jump on my mail pretty quickly afterwards (though not as quickly as you'd think, and that surprises me too), but it's worth it.

Try it - *force* yourself to do without email from Friday evening to Saturday evening. (Or another time period that suits you) I'm not saying it'll definitely work, and it can be quite frustrating the first couple of times, but that's what communication dieting's about. (And no, I'm not going to try and convert you to Judaism)

Posted by Yoz on 7 January 2004, 11:57 am | Link

Oh I'm sure you're right. The problem for us non-religious folk is there's no fixed period during which we *must* do this. Even though I consider myself to have a will of iron when it comes to denying myself things, it's extremely difficult to stick to a period of non-communication unless I'm physically away from the computer: "Hmm, half an hour 'til I go out... I'll just check Bloglines..." But I will try Yoz, I will try. For you.

Posted by Phil Gyford on 7 January 2004, 12:03 pm | Link

Well, I was hoping you'd do it for *you*, Phil, but whatever. :-)

Yes, the religious-enforcement thing is a big factor and I admit that I wouldn't manage it without that - same as I'd end up eating even more shitty junk food than I am now if I wasn't keeping kosher. But then, one of the big reasons for my religiousness (and it's not meant to be like this, but it's true) is that I appreciate the re-enforcement it gives, so I re-enforce it back. I suppose it's me buying into the structure just as much as the faith.

(Bob's just looked over this and she thinks my religiousness is considerably more about structure than faith - she's probably right. She also points out that for me it's much easier to continue with an existing structure than to break it. But enough about my dodgy Yiddishkeit.)

Posted by Yoz on 7 January 2004, 12:44 pm | Link

I've been trying to wean myself away from the flood of info and emailing. It's too easy to just waste hours. And 'net activities are somehow coded in a way where they feel like non-action. For example, if you were reading a book and somebody called and asked "what are you doing?" you would probably answer "reading a book". If you were checking email or reading BoingBoing or surfing/downloading/etc. you most probably would say "nothing." It would sound very strange to say "I'm checking email " or "I'm surfing the web".

In fact, these activities *are* activities, and do take time. I guess where I'm going with this is that this recognition has to happen first before weaning yourself off it.

See, now I've just wasted 5 minutes writing this.

Posted by ted on 8 January 2004, 9:04 pm | Link

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