This is a follow up to my first go at turning off all screens over a 24 hour period. Why did I do it? For one, I just felt burnt out and that I needed to untether from the information deluge that comes with being “on” 24/7. I had enough of checking my iPhone instantly when I woke up and staring at it right before going to bed. In between, like a lot of tech entrepreneurs/knowledge workers, I spend a good portion of my day in front of a screen. And it is unsettling when not having immediate access to one creates a certain level of anxiety… “Where’s my phone?” You know what I mean. Crazy!
Also, after reading The Atlantic article, “The Myth That Americans Are Busier Than Ever,” it gave me pause to think about how much “crap” I allowed to creep into my life via technology. While I value Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, email, and technology at large, I also know how easy it is to go from working to suddenly watching a video of a seaside skateboarding dog. Added up, screens take up more precious time than I thought. When I feel the hairs raise on the back of my neck upon receiving a device notification, I know I reached my tech threshold. Anxiety and unneeded stress are surely soon to follow. So I decided to turn off all screens only for one day a month to reset and fill time with full presence versus waste. I will likely do it more, but thought this would be a good place to start.
Taking a tech fast requires some planning, and it very well may be that you cannot go completely screenless. But you do not need to be connected all the time, which is the real driver behind information indulgence.
- Choose a day that works for you. For me, any Sunday is the best as it is a day I mostly spent with family. Having a screen with me is not primarily important. Take a look at your day and make sure there is nothing that will require you to be “on.”
- If you can, leave your smartphone behind. For me, it was interesting to see how tied to my iPhone I am.
- Use your Tech Free day as an excuse to plan fun stuff away from home so you will not be around any screens. Break from your normal routine and do something different. You will be glad you did in the end.
- If you are like me and use your smartphone to time workouts (i.e. CrossFit), plan on bringing another offline device (eg. iPod). If you must bring your smartphone, just put it on airplane mode. Beware: You will be tempted to “connect” so I do not recommend it.
- Let those people who need to know alternative ways they can reach you (or that you will not be reachable).
If you are feeling like me, and want to unclutter you time, join me this coming Sunday for a Tech Fast. Feel free to share how it went for you!