Mike Stone

Mostly The Lonely Howls Of Mike Baying His Ideological Purity At The Moon

Computer Free For Ten Days

16 Mar 2022

Recently I took some much needed time off from work to rest and recuperate. Part of this rest and recuperation was turning my computers off for more than 10 days. So, how did it go?

It went really well.

First, a caveat. While I was technically “computer free” the entire time, I still did use my phone. Having my phone allowed me to access social media, my personal email, the web, etc. I wasn’t technology free, just free of my laptop and desktop systems.

I’ve been burning out pretty hard lately, and there’s been some bleed through into my personal time. That bleed through is admittedly self inflicted. I don’t like my work computer. It’s old and slow and miserable to use. Because of that, I’ve started using my personal computers to do some work related tasks. I can access several cloud services from my personal computers without connecting to my company’s VPN. My personal systems are much, MUCH nicer than the one I’ve gotten from work.

The problem here is that in my mind, I’ve started associating my personal computers as much with work as with my own hobbies. I get that feeling of work related dread even sitting down at my own system to do something simple like fire up a new distro in a VM or play a game. I felt that it was in my best interest to get away from all of my computers for a while. I had some time off saved up so I took more than a week off.

I started off the week with a little staycation. For those unfamiliar with the term, my family and I went and stayed at a local hotel and engaged in some “tourist” type activities here in our hometown. We were never more than 20 miles (~30KM) from home. Still, the time away from the house also forced time away from my computers. This eased me into the time off by not having the computers constantly available to me.

After that first couple days we came home, and the temptation to use a computer was pretty minimal. I really didn’t want to use one with the exception of a few times where I was just bored. My first instinct when I have nothing to do is to just plink around on the computer. I fought that instinct and instead did some work around the house or watched TV with my kids.

Here’s the weird part. There weren’t really that many times that I wanted to use my computer during those ten days. Like I said before, the only time I really thought about it was when I had nothing else to do. My phone was more than sufficient for most almost all tasks I cared about. The only annoyance is typing on a touch screen, which always sucks. I found myself dreading my return to work because it meant that I was going to have to turn my computers back on. I found myself wondering what other lines of work I could get a job doing that would match my current benefits but wouldn’t require computer use.

I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that I’m back on my computers and I didn’t find a new line of work where I could stay computer free. Even if I had, I wouldn’t have stayed computer free for long. Just long enough to associate computers with fun again. Things are better now and I’m trying to draw a hard line between my work tasks and my personal tasks by forcing myself to use the work computer even when my personal computer could do the task faster and better. This should be easier soon as I’m due for a computer replacement with my company very soon. Hopefully I can replace my existing garbage system with something I don’t dread to use.

The experiment went better than I expected it to go. I thought that I’d miss it more than I did, and I was surprised at how little I wanted to use my computers. Historically when I take time off, I always bring at least my personal laptop with me when I go on vacation. I think I’m not going to keep doing that. I’ll bring my work computer for emergencies, but going computer free for longer periods could be a thing for me in the future.

Day 6 of the #100DaysToOffload 2022 Series.

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