Stopping my use of Google services

Opinion, Tech

I’ve been thinking a lot about my data, where it’s sat and which companies I trust or more importantly line up with my morals. Google is one I’ve wrestled with for a while but I’ve decided to delete my account over the next few months. I’ve stopped checking my gmail and signed out of YouTube everywhere but now I need to make some concrete plans to remove myself or stop using it until they change their attitude.

I’ve been following the Center for humane technology for a while but listening to their podcast really got me thinking about how companies are pushing for attention biased on the extreme and negative. YouTube recommendations are terrible at this and being signed out is even worse. I can no longer give Google my views when it can’t take any responsibility for its algorithm. Check out the latest episode of their podcast which is a great resource if you’re interested in why I’m not it’s biggest fan. Content creators I’ve followed for a while are now sucked into this arms race for negative content, which YouTube keeps on rewarding (I’m still glad I stopped trying to build a following there, I couldn’t have done this).

I’ll get off my soap box now, just wanted to share my thoughts on removing or pausing my account, I’m not expecting anyone to follow.

Doing my best not to nitpick (and be more positive)

life stuff

After listening to another tech podcast this morning (something I’m trying to do less of these days) it struck me that my tendency to nitpick and find faults isn’t being helped by their consumption. We live in an age with some amazing technology around us but some people (including me sometimes) are never happy with anything and always see faults in things. Seeing the glass half full is a problem I’ve wrestled with for as long as I can remember but I’m doing my best to turn that around.

I don’t know what that looks like just yet, but I do know that my first few steps are going to be something like (I’m writing this as I think of them…)

  • Spend a lot less time on Twitter (again!)
  • Significantly reduce my time listening to podcasts, especially the more nitpick ones 🙂
  • Pick up journaling again, especially around noting a few positives that have happened that day

Going forward you’re probably going to see a few more posts like this and less on iOS 13 testing (I’m now totally back to iOS 12), I hope this is ok with everyone.

Taking a step back (slowly removing myself from Twitter)

life stuff, Social Media, Tech

I wrote this post about how I’m trying to be more intentional using social media. Well after trying it I’m changing it up and deleting them completely. Twitter gives me very little in return for the negativity that I’m seeing. It’s become a habit to check what’s going on but I share very little these days. I won’t be deleting my account but will occasionally be checking in for my DM’s and won’t be replying to @mentions very quickly at all (sorry). These checks will be done in Safari on the Mac.

If you want to contact me about podcasting or anything really then you can use my contact page here and I’ll get back to you. I’m also thinking of a slack room which might be a good way to stay in touch if I don’t have you on iMessage already.

I’m also moving over to Micro.blog where you’ll find me here. If you want to support a great project then please consider doing the same.

I hope I’m getting across my feelings on this but I’ve got a lot going on and trying to stay positive and also create content is getting harder for me these days. I don’t want to disappear completely but need to take steps to move in the right direction.

Rediscovering the importance of a hobby for mental wellbeing

life stuff

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know I have a full time job and blog/freelance write on the side. It wasn’t until recently I sat down and thought about ways to relax a bit more and spending all that time in front of a device wasn’t doing me any good at all. What I’d let go of is my love of music and playing guitar, I’d replaced it with checking social, writing about tech and listening to podcasts. I effectively didn’t have a hobby anymore, I work in tech and wrote about in my spare time (all the time).

This was a good change at the time, I did a lot of YouTube videos on music and felt burnt out by it but I feel like I need to get the guitar gear back out and get back into playing to help me spend less time on my devices and more time being creative.

Spending this time getting back into music, both playing and recording is helping me disconnect from tech a bit and along with it my iPhone. It’s helped take my mind off things when I’m playing and especially when I’m learning something new. It’s a form of relaxation that I had completely forgotten about!

I expect I’ll be using the Mac a lot more soon when I sit down and start to record some songs again but the only technology I’m using is my iPad and tablature apps to learn songs.

If you’re feeling like you’re running then sit down and write down what you like to do to relax – and then schedule it into your day.

Following your own advice

blogging, life stuff

Since restoring my iPhone a few weeks ago I’ve fallen back into the trap of the modern smartphone. What I mean by this is having all of the apps I can available to me to use and getting caught up in these Infinity wells, such as YouTube and Social networking. Neither of which are particularly great for my wellbeing these days.

It hit me this morning whilst browsing Reddit, why am I mindlessly doing this?.

I want to be more intentional with how I’m using my technology and allow myself to be bored. Enjoy a walk without a podcast in my ears sometimes or just enjoy the warm sunshine on my face in the garden with no desire to see what’s happening on Twitter.

It also hit me that I’ve written about this before on the blog, many times actually. I’ve written about helping to reduce the time you spend on your phone and also steps I’ve made, such as only checking Twitter once a week but I’ve forgotten to listen to former me!

This post is a reminder that when I fall into bad habits to step back and think about how I want to use my technology and interact with the world around me.

So this week I’ll be back to

  • Removing all social networking apps from my iphone
  • Checking Twitter weekly for notifications
  • Sharing smaller posts more, I’ve noticed good feedback from readers of my stuff lately. This in part because my default is to share here rather than on social media
  • Reducing my podcast consumption (I’m listening to over 20 shows a week!)
  • Leaving YouTube (again)
  • Deleting Reddit apps (again)
  • Doing my best to stick with one to do app and keeping it simple

And remembering to read some of my earlier stuff

One change to my morning routine that’s improved my day

life stuff, Productivity

I’ve made a slight tweak to my morning routine that seems to be having an overall positive effect on my day. I’ve been journaling for a while but only in the evening. After listening to an episode of The Automators on the subject I added a new Reminder that simply asks me to write down something I’m grateful for each morning at 7:30am.

Instead of picking up my iPhone and digesting news of social media I think of something that I’m happy about of grateful for in my life. I get on with day afterwards but starting off with something positive is a nice way to kick things off.

Stepping back

life stuff

You’ve maybe noticed I’ve been quiet on Twitter for a few days, well I’ve not engaged with it for almost a week now and I have to say that I’m feeling better for it. I feel like my mind is less busy with racing thoughts and I’m allowing myself to be bored instead of picking up my phone and checking my feed.

This might continue for a while. I’m unsure whether I’ll actually come back at this point.

I’m still posting to my blog, something I won’t be dropping anytime soon.

I’ve dropped the podcast for now, I’m sorry but I’m just not into sharing what I’m doing on iOS right now, I guess I’m becoming less enthusiastic about technology right now and seeing it more of a tool to get through my day rather than something I want to actively promote. Being honest here I also don’t have the time. I found myself in moments of free time engaging in other activities and the podcast was last on the list. I don’t see the point in doing it if my creativity isn’t there for it.

I’m in a couple of slack rooms, which has mostly replaced the need for Twitter. I’ve also got a slack room myself, I’ll share details on this if anyone wants to join in maybe.

I’ve also become less and less interested in YouTube and deleted the apps from my iOS devices. At this point I only watch my subscriptions on the TV.

Reddit has also gone from my iOS devices. It’s become a major time suck for me.

I’d recommend everyone take a break from at least your social media for a week, like me it might give you some interesting insights.