Take Back Control…….of your life!
For those Bullogers who are living in the UK, this slogan has a certain significance – positive or negative depending on which side of the famous Brexit debate you were on.
For those who were always of the view that it was the most ludicrous act of self-harm, that set the country on a spiral of decline, the words are even painful. Most, however, would acknowledge its effectiveness as a campaign slogan.
I’m using “Take Back Control!” with an altogether different meaning: I want to encourage you, me, all of us, to take back control of our lives from the addictive seduction of our smartphones and other digital devices and the social media that runs on them.
Don’t misunderstand me – I’m the first to acknowledge that there are many benefits that these technologies have provided and these are well documented and promoted, often by Big Tech and the powerful owners of these organisations. What is becoming increasingly clear however, is that there is also a darker side to this tech revolution which is far less talked about. Indeed, it is no doubt actively hushed up by the economic vested interests who stand to benefit from our addiction to this “digital opioid”.
Yep, I believe the vast majority of us are addicted to our devices whether we realise it or not. In the fullness of time, society will probably look back on social media in particular, and view it in much the same way we now view Big Tobacco. This won’t happen until the full extent of the harmful effects on our well-being are understood.
I’m not wanting to come across as all sanctimonious on this as I have wrestled in a love-hate relationship for several years. However, this year the extent of my addiction has become more apparent than ever.
Well, I’ve now completed no less than five modules at the retreat centre in Majorca which I mentioned in my October Bullog. That’s a total of almost 30 days off grid, free of meat, of alcohol and of all technology – I have to say they were joyous. My levels of anxiety were through the roof at the thought of having to switch off all my devices for several days at a time. Just how many thousand WhatsApp messages would be waiting for me when I switched it back on? How would these groups ever survive without me?
Of course, the answer was they survived perfectly well without me. Nobody died as a result of me not responding instantly to incoming messages. In actual fact, I found out there were far fewer messages awaiting me than I’d anticipated. It turns out that for me, my very presence on these platforms actually generates its own activity. When you remove yourself that reduces.
As a new year resolution for 2023, I’m seriously contemplating removing myself from social media altogether, but probably will retain WhatsApp as it has become such a ubiquitous means of communicating. However, I will try to confine even its use into blocks of an hour here and there, rather than sitting always online and in respond mode, ricocheting messages back and forward.
I’ve devised a small checklist to see whether you’re also addicted. Answer honestly!
- Do you respond instantly when you receive a message?
- How often do you switch your phone to flight mode during the day and for how long?
- Do you take your phone with you to the bathroom?
- Is your daily screen time more than four hours?
- Do you feel absolutely exhausted at the end of the day and that you’ve had no space to think?
- Do you check for messages, news or other platforms immediately before going to bed?
- Same question for first thing in the morning?
- Do you keep your phone beside your bed?
- Do you always take your phone with you when you go for a walk?
- When you see something beautiful, is your instant reaction to reach for your phone and take a photo of it?
If you answered yes to five or more of this these questions, then I think you’re in very good company! We’re all as bad as each other. But just because the majority of us are doing it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or is not harming you. Most people smoked in the 1950s and 60s after all.
Some brave people have managed to break from the herd, have cut themselves from their digital dependency and are already reaping the benefits. The big question for each of us in the new year is whether we join them or not?
So what will you do in 2023?
Best of the Rest
Besides another trip to the retreat centre in Majorca, the main highlight of November was running our 5th Decelerator Lab on Bute from the 7-11th November. We had a very eclectic mix of participants from the public and private sectors including organisations such as Accenture, Deloitte, The BMW Foundation, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and even the World Health Organisation(WHO). The weather wasn’t brilliant, as it was November in Scotland after all. But I never heard a single complaint and we even had some people swimming in the sea!
We have our dates now confirmed for 2023 and the next Decelerator Lab will run from the 13th to 17 March on Bute. The week before that 6-10 March, we will be having one of our remote co-working experiences called Be on Bute, where you can maintain the day job, but balance it with events that are conducive to inspiration, creativity and well-being. We will be offering everything from guided walks, yoga, art and woodwork classes, through to eBiking, rowing and even open water swimming. For the brave hearted amounts you, who want to try their at hand something a little different, I’m delighted to say that Maestro Nehemiah Brown has agreed to run a Gospel Choir workshop over the weekend in-between (10-12 March) in conjunction with the local community. You can come for both weeks, either week or consider other dates later in the year. All information is on our website (which is in the process of being revamped).
Lastly, I’m excited to say that we will be hosting another one of our popular RESET events early in the New Year on 8 January from 4pm until 6 PM UK time. RESET23 will be an opportunity for you to reflect on the year gone by and have some inspiration for how you can bring creativity, inspiration and well-being into your working lives in 2023. More info on how to sign up here
On the personal front…….
I’ve been spending more time in my new place on Bute over the past few weeks which is right on the seashore. The morning dog walk has been an absolute joy, especially when treated to amazing sunrises like the ones you see in these photographs. Never let anyone tell you that the weather is bad in Scotland!
Wishing you all a fabulous festive break your very best wishes for 2023.
OK, that’s more than enough for now folks. If you enjoy this monthly ramble then do feel free to suggest others sign up here. Until next month,
* The Bullog = Bulloch + BlogMake sense? Not bulldog, nor is it bulls**t although I’ll let you be the judge of that! It’s a brief synopsis on recent articles, events and opinions from my world and the things that have caught my attention over the past few weeks.