With only one more week until the arrival of our new baby, we are doing all we can to create a peaceful home, free from over stimulation for the precious new soul about to arrive.
This means the usual de-cluttering and cleaning that 'nesting' mothers embark upon, cleaning out cupboards and finishing off half started projects. But I've taken on a different sort of 'nesting'; electronic de-cluttering. Having already been TV-free for 4 years, I now find the advertising and the low quality programming a source of mental clutter that I don't want to fill my mind with. This means that the biggest distraction and source of mental clutter for us, was having the internet in our home. For awhile it was almost as if we had replaced our television for internet by watching programs on youtube, reading or watching the news online, trawling through the Facebook posts of people I've not seen in over a decade and browsing online shops for things I neither needed nor really wanted. So, we have decided that we will cut our ties with Telecom and have a home that is free from the internet.
Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the online world (otherwise this blog wouldn't exist!) I've gained knowledge that I otherwise wouldn't have, read inspiring blogs, bought great things that I couldn't locally, looked up how to do things I previously couldn't, kept in contact with loved ones via email or Facebook and enjoyed the general convenience of having 24/7 access to the world at my very fingertips. But now, 3 weeks after our home phone and internet have been cut I have adjusted from the few teething problems (such as suddenly realizing I urgently needed a hard-copy of a phonebook!) and am now feeling a sense of calm in our home that is similar to that which I feel when at a Bach, miles from the nearest form of technology or commercialization.
Having no land line is wonderful, we didn't use it all that often anyway, but straight away we've eliminated the problem tele-marketers ringing in the middle or our family dinner time, if anyone needs us they can call our mobiles or send a txt for us to call them back. As for the internet, I now take my laptop to the local library or a cafe with wireless twice a week to do all that I have to do online, while finding it enjoyable to have a little time out for email checking, blog posting, blog reading, online purchasing and anything else needing to be done online without the distractions of home. If I find something online that I want to read later, such as a recipe or a lengthy article, I just copy and paste it into a document and deal to it at another time.
Tim Ferris, author of "The 4 hour work week" is another person who is refusing to be what he calls a 'chronic email checker', I like his idea of setting an automatic response on his email, similar to that of an out of office auto reply to say that he checks his email on 2 specific days, and if you need him urgently to call him. Also, Leo B? author of Zen Habits and the blog mnmlist has useful tips to offer on the subject of decluttering your inbox, especially when you are checking twice a week, since there's the potential to log on and find an overwhelming 100+ emails glaring at you. Leo suggests unsubscribing from newsletters and mailing lists that aren't essential, 'Hiding' or 'Defreinding' all those Facebook acquaintances who, let's face it, aren't really your Friends and dealing to all emails straight away, deleting them as you go in order to leave an empty inbox in your wake.
In such a short space of time I'm already reaping the benefits of placing limits on myself in this limitless online world and I know it will help me to maintain a greater sense of calm when our house is filled with the demands of a newborn and an active toddler. There is only so much information I can store in my mind and I genuinely think that if I'm filling my mind with the small and insignificant tidbits that make their way in there as a result of too much time spent with too many people online, I'm not only hindering any creative ideas but not allowing space for the deep contemplation that goes hand in hand with a clear mind, something I wouldn't mind a bit more of!