I recently listened to an interview with Mary Ruefle and was struck by the way in which she talked about technology. She doesn’t use technology much at all and has decided that even though it’s demanding her attention, she’s saying no. Her contact page on her website (and yes, the irony that she has a website) is the best I’ve seen on the internet.

But it’s had me thinking on my walks the last few days about technology and the demands it makes of us, or at least very much wants to make of us. Over the course of the last year I’ve pulled way back from technology, spending quite a bit less time online. And when I do venture online I notice a few things immediately, one of which is my anxiety rises, which I feel in a raised heart rate.

And you’ll probably find it ironic, but I’ve done some very unscientific tracking of this by looking at the heart rate monitor on my Apple Watch. So yes, I’m using technology to track how other technology makes me feel. But I’ve definitely found, especially since getting the Apple Watch four months ago, that some tech allows you to disconnect in a way that other tech doesn’t. The watch is that very type of tech for me, I leave my phone sitting in a room most of the day, and since I need reading glasses now and I don’t love reading things on the small screen of my watch, I look at a screen a lot less.

We’ve all heard the phrase that what you pay attention to is how you live your life (or it’s something like that, isn’t it?) and I’ve found that the demands of tech and the ways in which all the crap of the internet come into my head have serious negative effects. So, much like Ruefle, I’m saying no a lot more, not as completely as she is, but I’m being much more deliberate in what I choose to pay attention to and when.