Dallin Crump

100DaysToOffload

On January 1 of this year (2022), I decided to take up the 100 Days To Offload challenge. The premise is simple: publish one hundred posts to your blog within one year. I publish this, my one hundredth post, with one day to spare.

For a good part of the year, I had all but given up on it. I started out pretty strong, then lost steam and didn't post for months. I was ready to throw this endeavor in the metaphorical (and massive) “Things Dallin started but never finished” bin in my mind.

But for some reason, I decided to push through. There were many times when I was drawing a complete blank and couldn't think of anything to write – interesting or not. But I somehow I got it done.

One thing that helped me is my decision earlier in the year to keep a journal again. Thanks to the magic of IFTTT, I capture my blog posts as journal entries via the Day One mobile app. So I had some addition incentive to write something every day to ensure I continue my daily journal entry streak (148 days and counting).

Another thing that has helped me in the final stretch these past two weeks has been my news and social media fast. The more distracted and riled up I am, the less focus I am able to maintain on writing. News and social media are huge sources of distraction and anxiety for me. I won't say writing has been effortless during this fast, but the ideas and motivation to write have been much more attainable.

One thing I wish I had done differently is to post consistently throughout the year instead of procrastinate and have to post once or more per day just to squeak by. I'd like to be able to put more time and thought into some of the things I write about rather than just brain dump each day and not really have a chance to dive deeper into things that really interest me. It should have been two to three posts per week rather than one or more posts per day.

Regardless, the most rewarding thing about this experience is the satisfaction and self-confidence that come from finishing a task that has been long and at times difficult.

This has been an amazing experience for me, and I hope to continue to build on this momentum and keep writing. That's why the title of this post is a question. Perhaps I'll repeat in 2023?

If you've ever thought about taking this challenge, I highly recommend it.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 100) #writing

I drove over 1800 miles in the past week, and I feel like I witnessed a lot more aggressive and careless driving than usual.

Maybe it's just my perception, maybe I was just paying attention more than I have in the past, but driving from Northern Utah to Phoenix, Arizona and back I saw quite a bit of craziness on the road.

Both Arizona and Utah had their fair share of people who seemed to think they were playing Gran Turismo, but we hit rush hour along the Wasatch Front (the I-15 from Provo to Ogden) and that was the absolute worst.

For example, I wasn't going slow, by any means. I always try to go with the flow of traffic. But it didn't matter how fast I went, someone always wanted to go faster and was determined to make that point in dramatic fashion.

My car has adaptive cruise control, which means it can automatically adjust the speed to maintain distance between the car in front of me. In other words, when I have adaptive cruise control activated it won't go faster than the car in front of me. That's a good thing, because I don't want to crash.

On several occasions someone would determine that I was driving too slow, pass me, and immediately cut in front of me to teach me a lesson. Only to discover that it was the car ahead of me that was going too slow.

I recently read an article about Utah drivers being the worst in the nation. From what I saw on this most recent road trip, I can't disagree.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 99) #automobiles #travel

I'm at the tail end of the first family Christmas vacation we've taken in three years, and it's been great.

Mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related circumstances, we have not spent Christmas with my extended family since 2019. Being able to do so this year has been a wonderful experience and a reminder to me of two things: the importance of being together with family, and the necessity of in-person human interaction.

I tend towards introversion. I don't mind being alone. I am a contemplative person and need solitude, quiet, and deep thinking to replenish myself. My initial reaction to social occasions is to avoid them. But most of the time when I push through that hesitation and go, I do enjoy them to some degree. I enjoy them even more if those social occasions are with family.

I am blessed to still have one living set of grandparents. I am their eldest grandchild, and my son is their eldest great-grandchild. This is our second opportunity this year to spend time with them, and these have been special visits. Video calls with them would not be the same – they are no substitute for sitting on a couch together talking, feeling that tangible connection that comes just from being around loved ones.

This has been a lovely time. While I am ready to return to our “regular” life, I also wish I had more time. I wish I didn't live so distant from my extended family that I only get to be with them a couple times a year. Still, it makes those times all the more meaningful.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 98) #family #life #Christmas

I received an email yesterday that the Unihertz Jelly 2E smartphone I ordered on 12/23 has finally shipped.

The delay is understandable. Package delivery is always delayed around the holidays, but this year some intense winter weather has been negatively impacting air and ground transportation all over the country.

So I don't mind long shipping times. The only expectations I have for this phone are that it will work with my carrier and will make me want to use a smartphone less.

I'm excited to thoroughly try it out and share my impressions. Hopefully it will arrive before the end of the year so I can start 2023 off on the right foot on my journey to more intentional technology use.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 97) #tech #smartphones #DigitalMinimalism #intentionism

In 2017 I learned about and got really into the concept of minimalism. Not in the artistic sense, but in the sense of removing physical and mental clutter from your life so that you are able to focus more on what truly matters.

In fact, that summer I undertook what I now refer to as “The Great Purge of 2017”. I went through my entire house and got rid of a lot of stuff. It was glorious.

In addition to regularly assessing my physical possessions and getting rid of things I don't need, I try to evaluate things that are cluttering my mind and negatively affecting my mental health. In my case, most of those things have to do with the technology I own and how I use it.

I have made some good strides over the years, but now more than ever I feel the need to make some significant and permanent changes to my relationship with technology.

I have always been concerned about the potential negative consequences of technology making some aspects of our life more convenient. Whether we realize it, there are always trade-offs.

Automobiles, for example, have made our lives convenient in many ways. They allow us to travel where we wish whenever we wish. But I believe they have also negatively impacted things such as our environment and the way we plan and build our cities in North America. They are also not the safest way to travel and they can be a tremendous financial burden to the average family.

For years I've been thinking about this concept of the sometimes ignored and unseen trade-offs we make for a more convenient life, and not only do I feel a renewed desire to make more changes in my own life, but I also feel compelled to make a dedicated blog and maybe even a podcast about it to share what I am learning with others.

Stay tuned.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 96) #DigitalMinimalism #intentionism #life #tech

For some time now – years – I have felt the need to be more meticulous in my time management and planning.

I have been using iCloud calendars for years to keep track of individual and family events and schedules, and it's certainly been better than nothing. But as I try to scale back and perhaps eventually eliminate my personal smartphone use, I am going to need to find other means of managing my time.

From December 2000 to December 2002 I lived in Brazil serving as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Smartphones didn't exist, and PDAs like the PalmPilot were expensive. We used paper planners to plan out our days and weeks in 30 minute increments. It was one of the most productive and efficient periods of my life.

I came across a post on the Moving Offline blog by Jose Briones that tipped me off to the existence of Moleskine daily planners. They're not like my old missionary planners, but I decided to order one anyway and try it out. I can always try something else if I determine this isn't what I need.

Better time management using paper planners is a foundational personal change I want to make in 2023. Foundational in the sense that I hope it will help me to stay accountable and on track as I make other changes to better align my behaviors with my values.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 95) #DigitalMinimalism #intentionism #planning

I'm half-way through a two-week news and social media fast. It's going just as I had hoped it would.

I'm disturbed (but not surprised) by how many times I have absentmindedly tried to open a news or social media website. Thankfully the blocks I have put in place have prevented me from breaking my fast and reminded me just how entrenched I have become in these habits.

I feel like my overall mental state is getting better. I'm less anxious and agitated. I'm able to think more clearly and focus more easily. I have a greater desire to read and write. I know there are concerning and disturbing things happening in the world, but I'm focused more on how I can make the world a better place by influencing circumstances within my control.

Going forward, I think I need to schedule specific times to check news and social media. I'm not sure yet on the duration and frequency. 30 minutes daily might be too much, so maybe 30 minutes every other day. I'll have to experiment and see what works. Outside of those scheduled times, I need to avoid news and social media.

For now, I will enjoy the remainder of this news and social media fast and continue to think of other ways I can align my life more with my values for the coming year and beyond.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 94) #DigitalMinimalism #SocialMedia #intentionism

One last Christmas video. Despite some disappointing turns of events that prevented us from seeing some loved ones, this has been the most joyous Christmas season for me in at least three years.

May we always be grateful for God's incomparable gift of His Son. And may we always be looking for gifts of time, love, and service to give to Him.

What shall we give to the babe in the manger? What shall we offer the child in the stall? Incense and spices and gold we've aplenty. Are these the gifts for the king of us all? 

What shall we give to the boy in the temple? What shall we offer the man by the sea? Palms at his feet and hosannas uprising, Are these for him who will carry the tree? 

What shall we give to the man who was offered, Rising the third day and shedding his love? Tears for his mercy we'll weep at the manger, Bathing the infant come down from above.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 93) #Christmas #faith #music

One thing that smartphones excel at is video calls. Tonight – Christmas Eve – was a perfect example of this.

It's the first time we've traveled to be with extended family for Christmas since 2019 – before the COVID-19 pandemic. My family, along with my two brothers and their families, planned to have Christmas Eve dinner with my mother and step-father and a small gift exchange afterward.

For various reasons, one of my brothers had to cancel his family's travel plans. We were sad that they wouldn't be able to join us in-person and that we would have to go at least one more Christmas without them. But thanks to modern technology, we used my (“ancient”) iPhone 8 to do a FaceTime call with them during our gift exchange. I played cameraman as family members opened their gifts and then passed the phone around to each family member to have a quick chat.

It is true there is no substitute for in-person interaction. But when in-person interaction cannot happen, video calls can be the next best thing.

If and when I decide to stop carrying a smartphone on my person, there will be other ways of doing video calls. A laptop, a tablet, or even a smartphone as a secondary device dedicated for specific functions like that.

Because, as was demonstrated tonight, a video call was able to bridge hundreds of miles and connect our family in a way that I only dreamed of as a child watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. While I lament other technological “advances” that seem to have done more harm than good or have mixed results at best (social media), video calls are one achievement I can wholly and unapologetically support.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 92) #tech #smartphones #COVID19 #family

I took a long road trip today without using GPS navigation at all. It was a familiar route, so I didn't need to use any printed maps. But it gave me confidence that maybe I don't need GPS navigation as much as I think I do.

I feel like with proper planning, a road atlas (assuming they still make those), and some printed maps for specific destinations, I could take a road trip anywhere.

This is how we did it before smartphones were a thing, and we somehow managed to figure things out, right?

Before smartphones, I'd look up routes on my home computer and print out MapQuest maps and directions as needed. Seemed to get the job done then, I'm pretty sure I could do the same now. Except with Google Maps, of course.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 91) #tech #DigitalMinimalism