Greg Things Things #29

• 5 min read

I almost gave up this week. Well, today in fact. This edition of the newsletter completely ran away from me, and try as I might, I just couldn’t carve out some time to get this done.

Greg Things Things #29

Hello Friends,

I almost gave up this week. Well, today in fact. This edition of the newsletter completely ran away from me, and try as I might, I just couldn’t carve out some time to get this done. Whilst walking the dog and enjoying some sun on my skin I thought long and hard about continuing with writing to you all.

Not because I don’t enjoy it, but a little time away and taking stock of why you do things is not a bad thing. Instead of the feeling of dread I have felt before, I just made sure in my mind that I wanted to continue writing this — and well you know how that’s turned out.

I feel as if I am fighting a battle between myself and time constantly. Trying to cram as much into my life that has meaning as possible. I must admit that publishing to has taken away many of the smaller ideas that would sit in my Ulysses inbox until newsletter time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have things to say still!

Back As Far As I Can

Last year I wrote about my desire to move completely away from smartphones in general and detach myself from the internet as much as I could. With this comes the juxtaposition and the realisation with the fact that I work online, and simply need access to things a smartphone can do most of the time.

Despite flirting with every size iPhone 12 I have stuck with the 12 mini and this has enabled me to go back as far as I can. With a few tweaks such as moving my phone out of my room, I have enabled myself to deal with the internet at prescribed times, and in ways I want to.

This is no fault of the internet. These issues are in me, but also affect those around me. These issues are completely self-made. It’s not the apps I have installed. It’s not the designers fault. It’s not anyone else’s fault. It’s mine. Because I feel bad, I think that it’s outside things making me feel this way and I look for a fix. A quick one preferably, to stop this constant pressure I feel. Instead of working on myself and understanding the triggers.

A smaller phone has helped me not reach for it as much. As has moving it out of my sleeping space. They are not the cause of my issues, but a way of me fixing them and understanding my triggers. I have gone back as far as I can, and I am much happier than I ever have been, not because of a smartphone, just because I am the person I want to be.

Tactile Tools

I searched as much as I could and realised that the best writing app for me was right under my nose the whole time. The same goes for managing my tasks lists, but it’s not an app at all its something much simpler. A note pad and pen.

As much as Todoist tries to gamify my tasks ticking off, and Things gives me a little rewarding crossed out task nothing beats seeing all those ticks next to where you’re working.

Simply writing out everything I need to do that day, either the day before or that morning and working through them means much more gets done. Weird isn’t it, perhaps my brain just enjoys the feedback from writing them out and ticking them off. But I’m really surprised!

Seeing Yourself Everywhere

I enjoyed reading Uncanny Vally last week and one of the big things covered towards the end of the book is the fact that everyone does the same things in the tech bubble.

Wherever I traveled on the internet, I saw my own data reflected back at me: if a jade face-roller stalked me from news site to news site, I was reminded of my red skin and passive vanity. If the personalized playlists were full of sad singer-songwriters, I could only blame myself for getting the algorithm depressed.

Living inside an algorithm, like we all do, has no upsides. We are all stuck seeing everything that people ‘like us’ are doing. Ourselves reflected back at us and informing the choices we make next. We’re pigeonholed and controlled by an algorithm that makes it almost impossible to break out of.

Even when we do, and come across someone who doesn’t have the same feelings towards things we do, trouble is bound to happen. Other people don’t understand us as much as the machines, and as such other view points get us upset. The world online thinks the same as us, so why doesn’t the larger world outside?

This is further exaggerated when you live in somewhere like Silicon Valley where the online world is built by the people in your outside world. Shudder.

Remembering Correctly

For the second book inspired post, its Midnight Library this time. A book I absolutely loved, and one that made me think about the things I look back on with fond memories that may actually be false.

Despite human tendency to lean into the negative, our memory seems to have very rose-tinted glasses. Holding on to the positive parts of previous relationships, periods of life or just random things, much tighter than the negative aspects.

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Before I Go

Thanks for sticking with me, thanks for finding me again if I managed to lose your subscription a few weeks ago — and most of all thanks to those that contribute a little towards the newsletter. I’ll never get to the stage where I give up, don’t worry.

I appreciate you all, take the best care of yourselves.


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Greg Thinks Things #28 →

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