For most of us technology has become an inescapable part of life. We are forever tethered to our smart phones, tablets and desktops. Email and texts are constant reminders of how commented we are and just how dependent we have become.
My Personal Technology Reliance
I am probably more reliant on technology than most people. During the day at the day job I spent it sitting in front of a computer screen for eight hours.
I go home at lunch and spend it in front of my laptop, catching up on my RSS Reader. Maybe listening to a podcast with my lunch.
After work I hit the gym. Which is the most unplugged I get. But even there I use my smartphone to monitor my weight lifting progress and to tell the time. If I do hop on an exercise machine at the end of my workout I also give in and check Twitter or something.
When I get home I take a shower, get something to eat, and begin working on all of my side projects, like this blog. I’m on my computer until I close it right before bed.
The first thing I do in the morning, is turn off my smart phone alarm and pop open my laptop to check emails, my RSS Reader, Webmaster Tools and Analytics.
Which all mean that during the week if I am awake I am in front of a screen for all but maybe 3 hours a day. The whole rest of the time is with my face in front of a monitor.
What is Unplug Day
Unplug day is simple. Turn off and unplug from the internet and technology for 24 hours. To detox yourself and spend some time with friends and family. You know, real people in the real world.
National Day of Unplugging was held this year starting on March 23rd at sundown and ended at sundown on the 24th. I participated this year for the first time.
“There’s clearly a social problem when we’re interacting more with digital interfaces than our fellow human beings. Rich, engaging conversations are harder to come by than they were a few years ago. As we voyage deeper into the digital world, our attention spans are silently evaporating. Unplugging on a weekly basis won’t provide a magical solution to these issues, but it’s a start. Adding a modern Sabbath will ideally reward with the same riches this ritual has provided for centuries – a chance to catch our breaths, replenish our souls and reconnect with the living, breathing people we love.”
— Dan Rollman, President of URDB.org
Quote and more information on the event at Sabbath Manifesto.
It is a nice gesture and hopefully the movement gains ground. But really only one day a year just isn’t enough.
Finding More Time Away From Technology
It is especially hard for me to get away from technology because I need it to make money. I work all the time with some ambitious goals ahead, so it just isn’t feasible for me to cut out technology all the time.
But there are things you and I can do to get off the internet I.V. for at least a couple hours a day.
Work Email Stays at Work
If you have your work email forwarding to your phone, why? If something is really important you’ll get a call and honestly it never is. Everything can wait tell the morning. Plus, if you get an important email while your at home or away from the office you can’t really deal with it so no reason to stress yourself out.
Turn Off Reminders and Notifications
Those constant beeps, buzzes and popups don’t help you. They only get you distracted from what you are doing. You don’t need to know the second an email comes in. Don’t let your phone tell you what to do and when to do it.
You see it all the time. People you are talking to you stop mid sentence to look at their phone to check some email or other stupid message. Stop worrying about your phone and deal with the real live person in front of you.
Turn It Off
I am going to go buy an alarm clock so I can have my phone turned off from say eight at night until the morning. I don’t know how many times I’ve been lying in bed and a message comes in and I check it. Which ends up keeping me awake even longer.
On the weekends if you are at a party or doing something fun. Leave the phone off. It only distracts you from having fun. You cannot escape back into reality without cutting that cord.
A while ago I had a goal to do one unplugged day a week. I only made it about two weeks before giving in. For me right now I am so focused on making money that I’d rather do that and get that part of my life in order first. But as soon as my finances are a little better off, I’m going to try and make it happen.