What is your relationship with your digital device? Try these exercises to experience how your relationship with your device affects your attention, wellbeing, and identity.
My Digital Procrastination (Attention)
This exercise illuminates some of the ways we use digital technology as a means for intentional or unintentional distraction and/or procrastination.
Goal: Notice what, how, and when we use technology “unintentionally,”—moments when we are unintentionally distracted by it, or when it becomes a vehicle for procrastination. Note: “distraction” applies to any task you perform that is not part of your original work plan for the designated time period.
- – Designate a 1-2 hour period in which you plan to do dedicated work on something. The original task may or may not utilize technology of any sort
- – Count how many times you task-switch from this dedicated task. Include both technological and other distractions
- – What technology/media you use if/when you become digitally distracted (ex: Phone-Email; Computer-Facebook, et cetera)
- – What led you to “multitask” or “procrastinate”? (e.g. boredom or frustration with original task, entertainment purpose, no clear reason, et cetera)
- – How do you feel when you are using digital media/technology as a distraction device? When you go back to your original task?
- – How do you define an “unintentional” use of technology?
- – What, if any, were the most common ways you used technology “unintentionally”?
- – What, if any, emotions did you feel during or after this exercise?
Me and My Phone (Wellbeing, Attention)
This exercise offers a preliminary exploration of the relationships we have with our phones.
Goal: Spend time without your phone in sight, and notice connected emotions.
- – Choose a 1-2 hour time period (minimum) to go without your phone (notify anyone who may need to be notified that you will not be accessible during this time)
- – Keep your phone OUT OF SIGHT for the entire duration of the chosen time period.
- – Pre exercise: How does it feel to know you will not be able to look at your phone for the chosen amount of time?
- – During the exercise: How do you feel without your phone? Do you notice it is missing? What emotions do you feel?
- – Post-exercise: How do you feel when you pick up the phone again? Is there relief, anxiety, excitement, a feeling of belonging?
- – Write down in note form the emotions and thoughts that you experience while doing this exercise.
- – If possible, record three separate times: before you give up your phone, at some point during the separation, upon reuniting.
- – If not possible to record during the exercise, describe these feelings that you had during each stage of the exercise as best you can after completing the exercise.
Reacting to Social Media (Wellbeing)
This exercise explores our immediate wellbeing in connection to our use of email and other social media
Goal: Notice our emotions and physical reactions to using email and social media
- – Initiate an intentional session of email and/or digital media.
- – Write a narrative of your experience: Record this narrative as you go through a session where you are using digital media of your choice (all or one in particular – news, Facebook, Instagram, etc). Remember to choose a time when you aren’t using this media to multitask, but rather have sat down to look at enter the digital space of news from the world/your friends
- – Before you enter social media, record:
- – how do you feel? Are you anxious? Excited? Worried? What are your physical reactions? Is your breathing faster or slower? Your shoulders tense? Etc
- – In the middle of your session, pause and record:
- – How do you feel? Has anything changed since you began using this social media? Describe your emotional and physical state
- – After your session, record:
- – How do you feel? What emotions are you having after this session – satisfaction, anxiety, happiness, indifference, etc. What is your physical state?
- – Reflect and record:
- – Were the reactions that you had before, during, and after the session what you expected? Did you feel any differently while using digital media than at other points during your day? In what ways?