Next Challenge: Media Diet (Read More Books!)

My mom at a great bookstore in the Netherlands.

My mom at a great bookstore in the Netherlands.

Week 36! This week will wrap up approximately nine months of challenges. I can't believe I've kept this up for that long!

This week we're back to the social/educational category I love so much. I had no idea what I was going to do this week until I ran across an article about media diets (which I thought I bookmarked, but can't find now). 

Back in October, I did a social media fast. That effectively  broke my Facebook addiction, so much so that now I feel like I neglect the Facebook page for this blog. 

While I'm not using Facebook like I used to, I still spend a lot of time with email, Lifehacker posts, and blog posts. Unlike some people I've read about, I don't necessarily think my media choices are toxic. I don't watch television or follow the news too closely, but I don't think what I'm reading necessarily reflects what I value in life.

In particular, I don't read enough books. Reading novels has been one of my favorite things since I was a child, and one of the most enriching activities I can think of, but in recent years I've read fewer and fewer novels. I used to read on my lunch break and before bed, but those times are now spent with my phone, reading things that may or may not be rewarding. Reading before bed, in particular, is something I really want to get back to. 

For this week, I'm going to try a media diet loosely based on this essay by Hugh McGuire, "Why can't we read anymore? Or, can books save us from what digital does to our brains?" McGuire's list of what to skip includes television in the evenings, which isn't something I have to worry about. But he too wants to read before bed, skipping the phone and computer, and to stop reading random news articles. 

My goal is to replace some of my media consumption with reading novels. 

Here are my rules:

  • No phone on my lunch break at work. Where I work, I can't have my phone out otherwise, so for the rest of my work day, it isn't an issue. I will read a book instead. 
  • No random reading of news articles. This usually happens when I get to a news site though a link in a blog, then keep clicking on anything that looks remotely interesting. 
  • No smartphone or computer in the bedroom. I'm going back to the old alarm clock this week. The only thing I don't like about the alarm clock is that it has no "silent" alarm option, nothing equivalent to having my phone vibrate before it starts squawking at me. My Fitbit has an alarm option, but since I don't get up at the same time every day, setting it would be a pain. 
  • Go straight to bed and read a book every night. 

I'm pretty excited about adopting these rules. Hopefully, once I get used to it, it will be easy. I don't know if I'll see the benefits McGuire says he experienced (such as retraining his mind to focus), but at the very least, I'll be reading more books. 

Week 36: Social - Media Diet (and Read More Books)

  1. Screen-Free Week
  2. Media Diet/Read More Update