Smartwatches, Cellphones, Distractions.

I had a conversation today with the beloved. I had been checking out continuous glocose monitoring and how it works, and came to the conclusion that is is expensive and clunky[1] The system that does work (but is unfunded in NZ) uses either and Iphone or a Google wear phone connected to a smartphone.  However, we have had problems with digital trackers. we feel the need to increase steps rather than exercise as we ought, and the notifications are continuous, annoying and interrupt our conversation.

From Nightscout. The hackery is because device licencing takes so long. 

Unlike neovictorian, I have a facebook account. And instagram (my friends know where to find me). But I don't do twitter: for similar reasons.

I’m not on Instagram and I haven’t used my Facebook for about four years, though it’s still there, but I’ve developed a serious Twitter habit. There are a lot of great people I’ve “met,” on Twitter, so to speak, and I’ll freely admit it gives me immense satisfaction to puncture the illusions and bullshit that Progs and SJWs are constantly spewing. And I’ve justified it as a way to promote my novel Sanity, and the books of my friends.

But what it’s actually become is honestly described as a sort of mild addiction, just as Newport discusses.

So I’m going off of Twitter through the month of March, replacing the hours spent there with more walking, more solitude, more reading and especially more face to face conversation. I’ll be posting this there shortly. If we’re “DM friends” I’ll send you an email to use if you’d like to keep in touch through non-Twitter channels.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all the socials are engineered by some of the smartest people in the world to grab you attention and keep you clicking as much and as long as possible. They can have their uses, but while I’m away for a month I’ll be evaluating what the actual best uses will be.


The best thing to do, of course, is not play. However, this is not really an option in the modern corporate and academic world[2]. I no longer tweet, because taking photos of unpublished work may ruin someone's career if you put them on social media, and I have this temptation to be sarcastic. Besides, some of the smartest editors in New Zealand spend all their time trying to get emotional responses to their rhetoric so you click their site or watch their news show. Your attention is monetized.

Cal Newport has three simple things that he suggests.


  1. Schedule your internet and email use. You could technically eat all day long, but most people don’t. They eat only a few set times a day. So treat your intake of digital information in all its forms the same way. Rather than answering every buzz or beep the second you hear it, set certain times to check email, social media, etc. To train yourself to overcome this Pavlovian response, try waiting five minutes after a buzz, beep, or ding before reaching for your device. Then increase this to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and so on.

  2. Develop a ranking system for your email. Sort your emails into categories like important and urgent, important but not urgent, and neither urgent nor important. This ranking system ensures that your brain is not overburdened with unnecessary or irrelevant information.

  3. Give yourself clear “online hours.” The root of the problem with information overload is that some kind of device is likely always within reach. But that doesn’t mean you have to use them every waking hour. Set an alarm for when you’ll shut down every night (ideally at least an hour before you go to bed so you can decompress).

I live on email, and I am not good at managing this (in part because I dislike Outlook which my work mandates). I am good at deleting things.

But some observations.

  1. When I am creating, particularly writing, any interruption will take me out of the flow. Completely. Switch the email notification off (Mac and Windows) or do not use a noisy emai client (everything else).
  2. I use messanger to chat. But again, switch the notifications off. Do it between jobs, not during them.
  3. Scan the email headings and delete. If annoying, block.
  4. Twitter is the crack of social media. Avoid it: let it implode.
  5. Watch were you go. When I was doing the lectionary daily my beloved said that when I looked around to find the application (and counter examples) I became more angry and sarcastic. Less caring.

NeoVictorian is in the States, and has different sites he is avoiding, as outlined in his update.

Take your notes and keep your to do lists and schedule on paper. Because smartphones and computers lose contact or brick themselves -- which happened to me on holiday, when I had everything on the phone, over Christmas. Paper does not depend on batteries.

If you have a smartwatch (I do not at present and this may change -- but at present the technology for what I need is not that great.

Finally A zipped pouch that holds money, cards and cellphone. I put it near me. But to see anything I have to open it.

I'm noticing that if I leave it zipped up I get more work done.


  1. I have gone through gmail and unsubscribed to most of my routine things, including (but not limited to) blog updates. This cleans up the email tray.
  2. I am not deleting from the phone, but if I get repeat emails requesting unwanted things, I am "creating a rule" in outlook and moving them to autodelete.


  1. I have Latent Autoimmune Diabetes. Most of the time controlled with medications and a really tight diet. As I get older, this is becoming harder.
  2. My sons were basically ordered to join facebook by their tutors at university.
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