32/52: Reboot

Hitting reset on my digital life.


Each week for a year, I’m designing a shirt and releasing it on my Threadless store. This is the design for week 32.


I love technology. I’ve had a computer around since our family bought a Commodore VIC-20 in the mid 1980s. And yet, lately, I’ve been feeling as though my digital world — with social media, Slack, email, blogging, streaming video — is slowly burning me out. I used to enjoy Twitter and Facebook, but I enjoy them less now. Slack works great for small groups, but I have no idea how anyone can cope with the volume of messages. Email is still email — and work email is still work email — but I feel like I have a grip on how to handle email. I’ve built a system for how to handle my email, but I have no idea how to manage the volume and impact of everything else.

It’s time to reboot my relationship with technology.

When something goes wrong with technology, 99.9% of the time, the solution is to reboot. Start over. Turn it off and turn it back on. So I’m rebooting my digital world before I burn out. It’s a work in progress. I’ve eliminated many of my notifications — and I need to eliminate more. I’ve started to pay less attention to stats and numbers on my personal accounts and sites. I’m going to start implementing some device-free time.* I'm thinking about shifting task management back to paper.** I’m going to drop services that I don’t get value from and change the way I use the web. I’ve already started some of this — and I can already feel a difference.

This week’s shirt is “Reboot.” I built the word on a five pixel high grid, and then changed the opacity on some of the blocks to degrade it a little bit. You can purchase it in a range of blacks and greys on my Threadless store.

* I’m pretty hard core with my kids about device free time, but I need to look in the mirror and put my own phone away.

** I'm a devoted Todoist user, so this is a big change. I have my reasons why I think this will make a difference and will write about it soon.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. He's currently in the middle of a project to design a new shirt a week for an entire year. Follow Bob on TwitterInstagram and Micro.Blog.