I have now gone for 100 days without using my iPod. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? Maybe. Am I going to use my iPod tomorrow? Yes!
So, what was the point of this exercise? I was finding myself easily distracted and noticed that rather than thinking deeply about anything I was tending to just plug in earbuds and let someone else’s preaching, teaching, musings or music lead me where they wanted to go. I chose a 100-day period because I really wanted to allow enough time for a change to occur and had read somewhere that changing a habit takes about 90 days (and since I like round numbers I made it 100).
This time span seems to have been appropriate. It took well over 50 days to unhook my brain from expecting to plug in an listen to someone else’s ideas rather than thinking for itself. What has also happened, which was worth the wait, is that my mind and heart are finding and valuing peace and silence again. This seems a little ironic because one of the reasons I like using an iPod is for the way I can isolate myself in a little bubble of sound, despite the traffic noises, advertising and inane chatter which characterizes public spaces. Now I am able to ‘zone-out’ that stuff without the electronic crutch.
Why then do I want to use my iPod tomorrow? One reason is the (virtual) stack of audiobooks I’d like to listen to. I’ve also discovered that certain parts of my day, such as waiting for the bus each morning, are pretty much useless for thinking or praying — my mind just won’t focus no matter how much I’d like it to. For these times the ability to select what my limited attention span will drift along to is a valuable spin-off from modern electronic gadgets.
Would I do this exercise again? If it seemed that I had again become a slave of a gadget, yes.