Digital Sabbath My Ass

Life Stripped Bear

I’ve spent many a time in the Apple store and in recent times dodgy repair shops. Often it’s due to my dying laptop needing a defibrillator.

Currently, I’m typing on my 2015 Macbook air. The left command button has been struck so many times (for screengrabs maybe?)that there’s only a white smudge in place of the ⌘. The mousepad is dead. And the screen has had a seizure. God bless her, she’s still hanging in there.

Reflecting on the place my laptop occupies in my life — I’m reminded of the show Life Stripped Bare. In this awful show, twenty-somethings are stripped naked (literally) of their possessions. Every day over a 3-week bender, contestants can add one item to their life. One episode sees a woman completely break down in tears after only a few hours. She quit as she couldn’t bear being without her Pad.

Digital Love

I know someone who sleeps with her iPhone. Yes, directly by her side — and apparently this is not that uncommon. Treating your devices with care is wise, but loving it to this extent s a bit over the top.

Digital Love by Daft Punk

And not to point fun at anyone — I’m no exception. At times I find myself talking to my little silver buddy, “I’ve given you such a nice home, why do you hate me so much!?” Or when I nearly spill a glass of water on it, “Sweet Jesus my man, it’s our lucky day.” Still yet other times I find myself bargaining, “Just work for me today mate and I’ll give you tomorrow off — promise.”

Stripped Bare

In 2010 when the term technology Shabbat was coined by the internet pioneer Tiffany Shlain I remember giving it a spin. I’d choose either a Saturday or a Sunday (that tells you how religious I am) — and my primary activity was mooching around the Portobello Road in London.

My secondary habits including grabbing a coffee from the ‘Orange Van Man’, and reading The Guardian from cover to cover.

The modern malaise of my professional life orbits around technology. When something goes wrong I typically go through a light-hearted version of the grieving process — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

The last few incidences have surprised me— I’ve jumped straight to acceptance within a matter of minutes. Maybe I’ve been subconsciously training?

Paying Attention to Your Attention

The attention economy is winning. Our devices are digital handcuffs. We’re slaves to our socials.

This is why I’ve deliberately brought back my digital Shabbat only with a twist. I simply turn off my phone at Friday sunset and turn it back on 24-hours later. It’s a lighter tech diet than before but it suits me well.

My focus has returned.

My mind wanders more.

My attention finds plenty of other things to notice.

I’m able to actually read again.

I’m excited to return to my little digital pal.

And when I do I find myself thinking, ‘Look who’s the smarty pants now?’

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The Orange Van Man’s van — where I’d sit with coffee and paper

Founder, Coach & Author of the bestseller SHAPERS →