On Consumption and Time
Ever since I signed up to do a course/certification, I am budgeting (yes, my time to spend) an additional x0 to x0 hours per week for this. That means spending about nearly three digit hours online, in front of a computer. This is temporary, but I realize that perhaps this is also an opportunity to improve how I make use of my time.
The reason why I signed up for the course/labs/certificate in the first place was that I wanted to stop learning ineffectively and wanted more structure in how I learn.
Due to this additional time I need to spend, I am taking a far more careful approach of how I spend my time online.
Blocking time-wasting sites
Be more conscious of time spent in productive sites
Despite doing a blacklist approach, I am also more and more conscious of how I spend my time in more ‘productive’ sites. For example, I very recently signed up to Stack Overflow and contributed a few comments which had some upvotes. Despite that, I still feel that my time is better spent elsewhere, at this stage at least so, I am putting a pause on that. As for this blog, I am also putting the domain on a temporary ‘Deny’ list on my extension until such a time arrives that I need to make a post. This curbs my habit of checking my blog – which picked up when I started blogging again mid last year.
Effects so far
The effects after one day has been noticeable.
I have gone into habits of typing in certain URLs only to find that it’s been blocked by myself. So, I then close the window and go on to do something else.
I’ve found myself still going down that content ‘rabbit hole’ but I am still working on improving it.
I was doing some study and lab work today (Sunday) and got through about 30 pages of material. And, I had some time left over for the rest of my weekend.
On Consumption and Physical Materials
I have gotten used to just living in three suitcases and a roller case. But I still have the urges to purchase and to consume and to take part in consumption. I once bought Chanel skin care products, only to take them back to the store because I didn’t like the thought of additional things with me (not to mention, I’m in my 20s and do I really need to spend that much on anti-aging creme…). That I had brought a collection of designer clothes I had amassed in Canada and are currently being sold by a third-party at a fraction of the cost. And so on.
Even though I was talking about the online consumption detox, I came across a YouTube channel of an early 20-something woman doing a dual Masters in Law and a Bachelors of philosophy with tips for study. I was looking for study tips and decided to watch one of her videos. I was surprised to see that it was a study tip-fashion-lifestyle vlog at the same time. Not only that, but she had a really good design taste and I started daydreaming about the time when I can purchase all those things…for my apartment…and stationery for my desk…then I pull myself out of that daydream.
Is it possible to be a tactile/visual person and still be a minimalist? While I find minimalism to be visually appealing, some parts of being tactile and visual would require consumption. In this case, having a visual/tactile life would counter against minimalism.
I would say that after watching that YouTube video, I did feel some sort of ‘longing’ to have ‘stuff’. I think that with stuff you can express and build your identity. Yes, we can make do with having digital stuff. But it’s just not the same as with the tactile and physical.
Consumption is a state of mind
In this case, consumption is not necessarily bad.
Now that I’ve explored consumption in terms of time/attention and in terms of physical/material, what exactly is consumption?
I think that consumption is a state of mind.
Think about it. You are essentially triggered to go through the motions of consumption until the end – the consume part.
You are hungry. You go through the motions of fixing yourself a meal until you can sit down and eat the meal to satiate the hunger.
You have a birthday party to go to. You go through a mental check of what clothes to wear, makeup and beauty products, whether or not you should go to the gym, what gift to bring, what message to type in what social network is best. Any missing elements, or any elements that you are unhappy about is then researched and vetted. Need new makeup? Think about the makeup set you saw online. Need to send a Facebook message? Don’t forget to hand over some of your personal data as you log in Facebook and send your friend a message. The act of keeping up with friends require some level of consumption.
You are a traveler. You think about what cities are best to go to, for how long, what to do in those cities. You research flight prices, get a travel insurance quote, obtain the cost of living and cost of recreation. You make a flight booking – that’s one point for consumption. You make a tentative accommodation booking – that’s another point for consumption. Your research into the foreign locale all consume your time and energy.
In this case, I don’t believe that consumption is bad (and nor it is good). Consumption is just a state of mind – something that can be controlled.
You choose to have certain things to affect you whereas if these end up being uncontrolled, then it becomes hard to reach a state of mind to be more mindful of your own consumption.