Sunday

#263 // Saved For Later



I almost did it just the other day, as I was on the way home.

There was a really juicy interview in Stylist that I wanted to get into, and my immediate thought was: "I'll read it when I get home." Now, I wasn't in the middle of a commuter crush, with someone's elbow in my neck or rucksack in my face. I had the luxury of a seat and wasn't listening to music or a podcast, so what better time was there? My second thought was "yep, sure you will. Tell that to the pile of freesheets and magazines already languishing in the corner of your room, getting acquainted with a layer of dust."

These days we can 'save' everything: tweets and instagrams to come back to later, articles online; we record programmes to watch at our leisure. And I get it. We're time starved. There's too much good information, too many shows to binge-watch them all, too little sleep as it is, and minimal free time outside of other responsibilities and interests. When we press save, we really do have the best intention to go back and digest it all.

But there's this elusive thing called time that is forever evading us, you see. How often do we actually go back to said article, link or tv show? I challenge you to look back through your Sky Plus to find the date of the oldest programme you're still meaning to watch. Guaranteed, it's not the right side of 2016.

Remember the days when you had to tune in to Eastenders at 7.30pm three times a week to find out who dunnit, who was gonna get the next bitch slap from Peggy Mitchell or get on the imaginary tube stop headed for the Costa del Sol? The 'duh duh duh duh duh, da-da-da-duh' was the warning claxon, and you had to be there.

Being able to watch things later if schedules don't match up has its merits, allowing us to still be part of the conversation or the hashtag du jour. But life before Sky Plus and saves forced us to be present. It forced us to give our attention to something, prioritise it as important and get it done instead of adding it to a never-ending and overwhelming to do list.

I wrote a while ago on Bianca's website, about how evaluating how I spent my money also made me look at how I was spending my time.

Our fingers are forever in a robotic, endless scroll, minds constantly whirring, a zillion tabs open. It's like we're scared of not ever having something to do, even if that something isn't what we really mean to be spending our time on. And I know the inane, the things that don't come with weighty meaning and require masses of brain power have their place, this is simply a challenge not to give them too much space.
And I know the inane has it's place, this is simply a challenge not to give it too much space.

Because if we never prioritise the thing that piqued our interest, the challenging opinion piece, the stories and videos that engage, develop and drive us, drawing them into the now, we'll always be pushing them just out of reach into a suspended future. And who's to know what will be the thing that triggers a thought that causes an action; a something that could be lead us down a really interesting new path. And even if it's not an Earth-shattering moment of discovery, sometimes you just need to make time for the piece that will make you learn something new or cackle with laughter.

Maybe it makes us feel good though, the intention. "These are the sorts of things I'd like to read, for the person I'd like to be." But surely, when intention doesn't become action, the hangover of yet another thing not done has exactly the opposite effect?

For a few months now, in a bid be a doer and as an act of digital minimalism, instead of ending up in internet inception opening link after link after link, if I open a link, I have to consume that content before opening something else and getting distracted. And it's worked quite well, I must say.

This is just a little encouragement to sometimes just do, see or read that thing. In that moment. Act on it. After all, there's no time like the present. Or so they say.

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