Do non-tech things, preferably physical
A lot of my day is spent in front of a computer screen and keyboard which can be tiring and straining in itself, but I’ve found having outside non-tech things to do helps me balance the screen-centered daily work. These outside non-screen things can also give me a break from the more brain-heavy tasks of thinking through problems and their potential solutions which also consumes a decent amount of my day.
Here’s a few things I’ve noticed that help balance things out for me a bit:
🥖Making sourdough bread
Apparently I enjoy baking sourdough bread (also a big feature in my favorite board game Agricola). Sometime before the pandemic my wife bought herself a popular bread book from Tartine—and by herself I mean she bought it for me since I’m more of the baker in the house while she’s the cook(er). Since we were living in San Francisco at the time it seemed like a good place to start. The book was moderately interesting to me but I never got over the hump of actually trying to make the starter.
Around a year later I attempted to make a starter for a few weeks. I’d see signs of some activity and then after a few days it seemed to die🤦🏻♂️. I put it on hold for a while and then a friend mentioned he’d give me some starter, which worked out great. And the rest is history.
After I received the starter it took a few weeks of trial and error but I eventually got more comfortable and was making bread consistently. I guess I’ve been making bread for a few years now. The family loves it and I enjoy it. But more importantly it gives me something to take my mind off of technology and work and screens. It feels simple to a degree—tactile. It brings with it smell, taste, touch, and visual stimuli. It also forces me to slow down since it takes anywhere from 12-24hrs to get starter and dough ready. After-which it needs to be shaped, baked, and rested. And of course eaten which is the best part. And because the temperature is so important it makes me pay extra attention to the weather inside and outside of my house depending on how quickly I want to bake it.
🏋️Exercise and Lifting Weights
I’ve also discovered that I enjoy weightlifting. I’m not much of a cardio person, but I really enjoy lifting moderate to heavy weights. Not only is this good for my body and back since I’m sitting (recently standing) or not moving much during the workday, but I’ve found it also improves my focus, energy, and overall mood. I can always tell when I haven’t been working out. I feel extra irritable, tired, and have more aches and pains. And of course it can make you feel stronger and look better (for those significant others in your life 😉, or for yourself).
There’s probably a number of other things I do like fix broken things in my house, go on walks with the family, etc, but these are the main “hobbies” I seem to do most regularly. If you don’t already have some outside hobbies that are primarily physical or maybe just different than your work activities categorically, I’d highly recommend giving something new a try. Maybe one of the things I’ve mentioned here? Maybe something you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t pulled the trigger on yet. Maybe it will be energizing?
*Coincidentally as I’m writing this I realized that I’m both working out in my garage and waiting for some dough to rise so I can make some bread to celebrate a friend’s newborn baby girl!
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