Ev Williams: How I Keep Tech in Check

Ev Williams
Nov 30, 2016 · 2 min read
Image for post
Image for post

People make assumptions. And when you’re a tech startup CEO and a co-founder of Twitter, those assumptions include: You’re addicted to the internet. You work constantly and don’t sleep. You overshare.

Most of those things used to be true for me.

I’ve spent the last 20 years breathing and building the internet. So I have a good sense for the benefits of always-available instant access and all it entails. I also have a strong appreciation for the drain being constantly connected can cause on your health and sense of well-being.

In the last few years, I’ve put a lot more focus on keeping things in balance. Here are three practices I’ve found very useful for harnessing technology without letting it harness you:

Mindfulness meditation. Three years ago, I started a regular practice of meditation. It’s quite simple, though not always easy. Twenty minutes of sitting (or sometimes walking) per day is enough to stay relatively grounded amid everyday anxieties. Additional benefits include more insights and increased awareness — including awareness that you’ve been sitting the computer for hours on end and should maybe go for a walk.

Weekly schedule. Building companies requires a ton of work — and I love work. But I’ve also found that working 24/7 no longer produces the best work product or the best life experience (not that it ever did). A strategy I’ve been employing the last few years is to have a set weekly schedule. For example, on Monday’s I have dinner with my kids; on Tuesday, I stay at the office late. Wednesday is the all-important date night (no devices allowed). While work and other events demand flexibility from time to time, having a default schedule does wonders to maintain balance and set expectations with those around you.

Efficient exercise. I’ve always known that there are few things that have an effect on my energy, happiness, and effectiveness then exercise. But I found it very hard to get into a regular routine — not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because it was so time-consuming. Even with a gym across the street from my office. What I’ve learned in the past year is that you can work out at home, quickly (I do 30 minutes, 3–4 times a week), with minimal equipment, and feel great.

Perhaps ironically, I do use technology to help me practice each of these technology-balancing practices. (There are plenty of apps for each.) But that to me is how you use technology, rather than letting it use you.

Thrive Global

More than living. Thriving.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store