Year of the Tangible

Inspired by Coretex, I’m declaring Tangible as my theme for 2021.

I’ve chosen this theme because I want to spend less time looking at a screen and more time with “tangible stuff”. I’m sure that this is a common sentiment and declaring this theme will keep me focused on improvements.

Since working from home with an iPad, I’m averaging about 9 hours a day with an iOS device. This isn’t just a vague estimate; Screen Time gives me to-the-minute tracking of every app I’m actively using.

A generic day is something like:

  1. Exercise via Zoom in the morning
  2. Meditate with Waking Up on the iPhone
  3. Read news on my iPad while having breakfast
  4. Back and forth between Teams (almost 3 hours a day!) and Outlook on the iPad throughout the work day
  5. Learning guitar on YouTube and reading books in the iPad in the evening

Throw in some Netflix, journaling in DayOne, social networking, and random YouTube videos and I’m spending an incredible amount of time looking at a screen.

I’m certainly not a Luddite! The ability of these rectangles of glass to take on so many functions and provide so much meaningful content is astounding. There’s just something unsettling about the dominant role they play.

So, a few things I plan to try:

  • Although I’ll continue reading ebooks, since the convenience is so great, I’ll be rotating paper books into the queue regularly.
  • I’ve lost my running outdoor routine. Getting that back will be a nice addition to the Zoom classes and add in some very much needed fresh air.
  • As a family, we’ve been enjoying playing board games on weekends, just not routinely. Making sure we play at least one game a week will be good for all of us.
  • My son is keen on electronics. We’re going to try assembling a gaming PC for him from components, as well as learn some basic electronics with a breadboard and Arduino.
  • Our dog will be excited to get out for more regular walks with especially long ones on the weekend.

I’ll be adding much of this to Streaks, an app that I’ve found really helpful for building habits. I’ll also add a “tangible” tag to my time tracker to quantify the shift.

My hope is that I can find the right balance of screen time and tangible activities with intention.