brayden wise

bassist, composer, arranger, radio guy, cyclist, homebrewer

Strenuous Leisure Activity

I’m currently reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. To be honest, I’ve been reading a lot of these types of books over the last six months (Atomic Habits, Bullet Journal Method, How To Do The Work, etc). The formats are generally similar, so I’m learning how to maximize my time while not reading every single word. Cheating? Maybe. I don’t care.

My relationship with technology, as for most, is evolving. I’ve gone through fits and spurts of being very active on social media, to not at all, to loading apps on my phone, to deleting them all.

While I’m not quite done reading this book yet, I’ve found a couple of ideas that I’m going to pursue just to see where things lead me.

First of these is the idea that strenuous leisure is an activity worth pursuing. From Pete Adeney:

“If you leave me alone for a day…I’ll have a joyful time rotating between carpentry, weight training, writing, playing around with instruments in the music studio, making lists and executing tasks from them

Pete Adeney from “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport

As I prepare to post-mortem my holiday leave period, I can see the gaps where technology got in the way of some of my “strenouous leisure activities”, but too, where I did really manage to hit the mark.

Coming into the break (as with most years), I was tired and burnt out. My priority for leave was to TAKE A BREAK. For the most part, I feel as though I’ve been successful in this pursuit.

Most of my leisure time, this holiday was centred around my latest hobby, that being ham radio. This played well into the “strenuous leisure activity” department by getting me out of the house, out to parks, and working on new skills that help benefit not only this new hobby, but also relate back to my other hobbies like bikepacking, hiking, camping, etc.

Where I feel like I fell short, though, would be in the way that aligns with how most of us experience technology, which is to say that it’s in the margins and we don’t necessarily realize it. How often am I guilty of sneaking after the bathroom and quickly checking Facebook, or Reddit? More often than I’d like to admit. I did implement some screen time controls on my phone, and in doing so I tried to limit myself to a half hour a day or so on most social media platforms. If I had a time where I needed to dig a little bit deeper, like if I was looking up info related to a project, or something I was thinking about, I could do that at my laptop, rather than doing it strictly on my phone, where my tendencies is to become very distracted by any number of other things present.

A lot of this type of minimalism comes down to the processes and systems that support them. I’m still tweaking how everything fits together to support the kinds of tasks and hobbies I want to pursue. We’re all gifted the same 24 hours in a day, and what we do with them is up to us. Even with a job that takes up a good amount of your day (plus time allotted for adequate sleep), there are cracks in which you can find efficiencies. Efficiency in and of itself isn’t necessarily the goal, and that’s a whole other can of worms, but being deliberate about your activities, I feel, can be helpful.

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