This experiment is all about trying to reduce my smartphone usage at home with the use of an Apple Watch. Yes, I know it sounds ironic — trying to reduce usage of one gadget, with the use of another gadget. But let me try to explain where I'm coming from.
One of the best things about working from home, is being able to eat with my kids at the dinner table. When I'm working from home though, I'm always worried about time that I spend away from my desk. What if my boss wants me to join a call? What if I was supposed to join a meeting? This is why I've resorted to carrying my phone around whenever I'm eating with my kids, or helping Coney out with Baby Caleb.
Carrying my phone around the house has renewed my itch to use it. Like when I'm at the dinner table, or by the bathroom door while potty training Davin, or when I'm carrying Baby Caleb around to give Coney a breather. It's all too easy to just pull it out and fire up the Feedly, Micro.blog or DuckDuckGo app. As you can see, it is not ideal to have my phone with me around the house. Also, how I am supposed to tell Davin to not bring his iPad to the dinner table, when I'm always bringing my phone around for lunch?
It's been nearly two full months since I've started Experiment Log – 006. I'll admit that I almost forgot about it. So, today I'll officially end the experiment. Here's what I've learned after trying out different digital tools for weekly planning.
Weekly Planning using Email
This was the most surprising out of all that I've tried. I honestly enjoyed creating my weekly plans using email. Basically, I would write down the plan for Monday to Sunday, then email it to myself. I cannot explain it, but I get a kick out of doing that, sending myself my weekly plan. One other thing I liked about weekly planning using email, is that if I need to make a change, I need to send myself a new email by replying to my original email. It sorts of acts like a basic versioning system wherein you can actually see what the previous tasks were, versus what the new ones are going to be.
What I don't like about it is that I have to make sure I type in the right email address before hitting send. In other words, there is a chance that I will accidentally send someone else my weekly plan. And depending on the contents of my weekly plan, that could be a big privacy/security issue. There's also the fact that my weekly plan lives on an email server in the cloud, which means my email service provider can probably read what I have planned for the weekend. And if for some reason I lose all internet connectivity, then I probably won't be able to check my weekly plan. So, not ideal, but it was a fun way to do weekly plans.
Why not continue weekly planning with pen and paper?
One of my issues with using my Bullet Journal for weekly planning was that I felt like I was wasting paper with the Weekly Log pages. The reason I felt like it was a waste of paper was because a weekly plan is just that, a plan. It is not a record of what really happened during that week. For the true record of events that happened during a week, I can look at my Daily Log pages. The Daily Log pages I want to save. The Weekly Log pages? Not so much.
This experiment is about weekly planning. My goal is to figure out whether doing so will improve my life in some way. It might look like I'm doing this for productivity gains, but I'm not. That is because my primary motivation for this experiment is to plan out leisure activities for when I have free time.
Do I play video games? If so, what game? Do I read a book? If so, what book? Do I watch a show on Netflix? If so, what show? Do I play board games? If so, what game? Do I play the guitar? Do I do some recreational programming? Do I write a journal entry? Basically, I want to take away those kinds of questions and just have a list that I can look at to determine what I should be doing next.
This experiment was about going 1 – 2 weeks without using my Fitbit Charge 2. Here is what I discovered from this experiment.
Initially I felt like I was missing something without my Fitbit on my wrist. After a day or so, this feeling went away and was replaced by a feeling of liberation.
I no longer needed to worry about whether I forgot my Fitbit or not.
My business casual outfits no longer looked out of sorts. I could wear an elegant looking traditional wrist watch on my left wrist and there won't be a fitness tracker on my other wrist to spoil the look.
It was easier to put on jackets without the cuffs catching on my Fitbit.
I no longer needed to remember to charge it every week.
I no longer had to worry about the occasional itch/rash that would manifest because of wearing a Fitbit.
Years ago on my first job, I was working as a software developer on a support team. That job was tough and stressful. Being on-call often didn't help. Calls at 1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM, 4 AM? Yeah, I would get up and answer my phone. I even answered calls as I was trying to get ready to go to work. There was a day or two where I didn't get to sleep at all, because we were stuck on a conference call trying to fix something. It was a very tough job.
I developed a bad case of eyestrain then, though I didn't know it yet. It became so bad that it would cause dizziness every once in awhile. Just moving my eyes from one monitor to another would sometimes trigger it. Just sitting down and looking at something would sometimes trigger it. It became so bad that I was worried that I had some sort of issue with my heart. So I bought a Fitbit with a heart rate monitor. The idea being that whenever I felt dizzy, I would check my heart rate to verify whether something was wrong with my heart, or if it was something else. I've worn my Fitbit everyday since then.
So when I started this experiment, I wanted to see what would happen if I disable the ability for me to view this site's stats. The result, a much better online writing experience. Not being influenced by the number of readers I get, allows me to simply not worry about it. It makes it easier to just write about something I want to write about. It makes it easier to write for myself.
As a related update to the results from Experiment Log – 001, I found that the number of readers did not increase in the 2nd half of that experiment. It stayed low when my posts were not being listed in the Read.Write.As feed. As I stated in the results for that experiment though, I no longer care about that.
It's been almost one month since I started this experiment. I've decided to end it at the start of a new month, just because I didn't see any benefit to prolonging it. I started this experiment with the intention of answering the questions below. And so here are the answers.
I want to see if not publishing to the Read Write.As feed will decrease the number of people reading my posts.
So this was interesting because during the start of this experiment, I still had access to my site's stats. However, a little over a week after starting this experiment, I started Experiment Log – 003, which basically hid my site's stats.
After I started hiding the view counts on my posts, I noticed that I sort of rebounded by furiously checking my site's stats instead. I was checking my site's stats multiple times during the day. Sometimes multiple times in the same hour. I don't think that's a healthy habit. So this experiment is all about disabling the Stats link and seeing what the results will be. I'll let this run for at least 2 weeks, maybe a month at most.