project cyclops

Someone once told me I sounded like Youtuber CGP Grey, so when I stumbled on the podcast he co-hosts (Hello Internet) I gave it a try, and yep I feel this guy very much.

For a while he was doing this thing he called “Project Cyclops” - turning off a lot of his social media and other internet noise. Obviously, he’s not the first to do this, but I like the name, so I’ll borrow it.

Why: I don’t know specifics, but some combination of calming down, slowing down, getting more out of my head and into my body, just feeling better. Something I’m doing now isn’t working; I feel like I’m just zipping from thing to thing the whole time. I also feel stressed a lot, even though my life may be among the less-stressful lives; I feel angry a lot, despite having little to be angry about; and I feel like I’m wasting my life on trivial shiny things instead of focusing on what matters. Turning off your social medias won’t solve these, but I hope it helps a little.

Some specifics:

- signing out of Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook, hopefully just not accessing them. Same with Feedly - I feel less sure about that, but I’m gonna try it.

- not listening to podcasts - still doing language tapes, and music if I feel like it, but gonna take a break from podcasts.

- not yelling at cars. To be clear: ban cars, and direct action in the form of yelling at them when their drivers are entitled assholes is probably a small impact in that direction. But for my mental health’s sake, I’m gonna give it a rest for a little while.
- probably not videogaming. I like these too, and I think they can be deep and good, but they get me in a tightly wound mind-state, which I wanna practice not being in. (Plus, I just finished all the achievements in Slay the Spire*, so why even bother gaming anymore?)
* yes I am very proud, why do you ask?

I drafted this post on Sunday, and now posting it on Friday, I’ve done it for about a week. (I’m not totally all talk.)

Too soon to talk about effects, but I have noticed that my checking pattern when I’m bored at work is now email -> other email -> slack -> try to open twitter, realized that I’m signed out, think “hmm maybe there’s nothing for me here”, stop checking things. So, that’s cool.


Daniel -

I think this is cool, and I’ll be interested to hear how it turns out! I don’t know if I’ll have the willpower, but I’ve been thinking about trying some time doing only (or basically only) whitelisted things, which would include:
- Working
- Sleeping
- Guitar
- Reading a book
- Walking outside (I’m actually starting to experience some mental health benefits from exercise, I think, which is nice)

Well I mean, there are a lot of things that aren’t on that list that I’ll do / that are important, but it’s more like trying to shift over so the first N things I think of to do when I have a few minutes aren’t “read internet” or “play Keyforge”, and they’re things from this list instead.

Dan -

Thanks! we’ll see!

“list of things I will do” vs “list of things I won’t do” is an interesting choice, and I don’t know what works better. Maybe “things I won’t do” helps me because there are still a lot of other things to do so it doesn’t seem stifling. (but what if I start doing something else and it just becomes the same thing - e.g. maybe I start compulsively cleaning the house in an effort to avoid compulsively video gaming, doesn’t really help with my goals here.

Adam J -

I agree that staying logged out of things has been really helpful for me. I go to Facebook and it also gives me a moment to think, “Wait, do I really want to do this?”

You should use your newfound free time to write some genre-defying songs.

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