03: Why you need a computer sign-in sheet

Don’t let your tools control you; use your tools with care, deliberate intent, and purpose. It seems counterintuitive but by having a computer sign in sheet, you can improve your productivity and break cycles of unproductive distracted web surfing.

We’re not responsible enough to have unregulated internet usage. We need to be deliberate about our tool usage. We use the tool, not the other way around.

One of the main points Cal Newport makes in his book DM is that the key to thriving in our high-tech world is to spend much less time using technology.

A carpenter uses a hammer, the hammer doesn’t use them. Is the same true of digital marketers? We get sucked into our device and end up providing value to social media platforms, news site, content providers; not to ourselves, not to our employers.

Digital minimalism could mean something different to different people. For some, it has nothing to do with the amount of tools you use but rather it’s about how you make space to create and learn and be happy. But for some, and I think this is the case for you, it has everything to do with the amount of tools you use. It’s getting rid of some of that clutter so you can focus on what’s important.

Think how much more productive you’d be if you had to go to a library to access the internet.

I love the library analogy. It lends very well to the idea that it would force us to focus your online time on a small number of specific activities. And then happily miss out on everything else.

As part of my digital declutter, I started a computer sign-in sheet to regular and filter my access. Here’s how I set it up:

* 4 columns; time, purpose, sites/apps, satisfaction

* I fill in first 3 before every session. This forces me to really think about what I’m going to do during a work session; I plan my work and what tools I need to accomplish my job

* After my work session, I rate my satisfaction. 10 is simple to get – I complete the task I set out to do and didn’t look at any other sites

* Noticed my lower scores all came from session interrupted by Slack & Email; very interesting, when I scheduled that time on Slack & Email, I could still attain a 10; realized the problem wasn’t the tool, it was my relationship to it.

I’m super productive and hitting all my deadlines; I only work 3 days a week and have rarely felt this type of sustained productivity, and I’d say I’m usually pretty productive and never miss deadlines.

Biggest change for me was forcing me to spend time to plan out what to do in a work session. I’m good about planning my week, sometimes by days, but never tried work sessions.

It’s really easy for me to tell when I need to think strategically about my priorities and refocus my to do list.

Your computer is just a tool, and you should wield it with the same finesse and care as a carpenter; A carpenter always has a hammer in his or her belt but they’re don’t use it for anything other than pounding nails.

What about those periods of time where you’re fucking around on reddit and you see something badass and it inspires you. You save it to your pocket, maybe you go back to it, maybe you don’t. But it’s it’s swipe file of shit that’s only there because of browsing. And you might be thinking cool but you can just schedule this reddit browsing time. But maybe the quality comes from the quantity of browsing. Maybe it’s just an excuse for using Reddit.

Content is not king; your behaviour on the internet is; if your behaviour is different than your intentions when it comes to internet usage, it’s worth paying attention to.

How can you be more intentional about your use of technology? Try a sign in sheet.

Intro music by Wowa via Unminus, artwork by SLB

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