Sometimes I feel TOO connected. Text. Tweet. Email. Ring. Like. Repeat. It all gets to be a lot over time. So when a writer I really admire announced he would be taking a break from constant internet connectivity, I took note, and decided to follow his tech-free footsteps.
Author Neil Gaiman recently announced he would be taking a social media sabbatical in order to focus on writing his next book. As a fan, I have mixed feelings, but I empathize with his desire to regain a writer's focus, and was curious about following suit. I've begun to feel the constant state of being online everywhere diminishes personal connections when everything is already chronicled online. To challenge myself, I took a weekend free of any device connected to the internet. The results were hilarious:
7 AM: Wake up and instinctively reach over for my iPhone. It's on airplane mode so there are no texts, no emails, no tweets.
8 AM: Head out for a workout. My jog is torture without a podcast or music. Luckily, the weather is beautiful, but this may have been a terrible idea. After 30 minutes, I can't take it anymore.
8:30 AM: Decide to head to the gym where the TVs will be able to entertain me.
10 AM: With no laptop in hand, I decide to start cleaning my office. Filing, shredding, recycling.
Noon: Regretting taking on a cleaning project. But quickly realizing I need to digitize more receipts. Make a quick PB&J and get back to it. I miss my Lose It! app. Without chronicling my calories, I start to feel paranoid.
2 PM: Decide to go shopping for shoes for a friend's upcoming wedding. Without the ability to price compare on my phone, I get very suspicious of every salesperson.
7 PM: Meet some friends for dinner. Everyone admits they want to try a tech-free weekend too, but it feels almost impossible. If they only knew...
11 PM: Go to bed with no idea where my iPhone is. Slightly panicked, but manage to fall asleep anyway.
8:30 AM: Sleep in because my iPhone is basically missing.
9 AM: Chomping on cereal and reading from a real physical newspaper. It's truly a weird sensation. I forgot how newspaper smelled.
10 AM: Head out for a quick jaunt in my kayak. It's only been out three times this summer, which is terrible. Without so many distractions, time feels a lot more freed up. Think about taking an Instagram picture and realize it isn't necessary.
1PM: Start chopping up veggies for lunch. Chatting with my boyfriend about how out of the loop I feel. He flaunts his smart phone, but I', no longer compelled to grab for it. Perhaps this is progress?
3 PM: Sit down with a printed, hard cover book. Since switching to my Kindle Paperwhite, I've avoided old fashioned books because they aren't nearly as mobile. With no where to go and no Kindle in sight, I finally focus completely on my book.
5 PM: Think about making some dinner reservations, but realize with no iPhone, no phone book, and no reservations app - I'm unable to do that.
9 PM: Sunday nights are usually a "binge" period for me. I'll start replying to work emails I was avoiding over the last 24 hours and scroll through Facebook. Instead, I start making food for the week so I don't have to eat out so much.
All in all, it was a crazy weekend. I honestly missed my phone, Kindle, and laptop by the time I touched them again. However, I also feel more recharged than ever. Somehow, I know an unplugged weekend is in my future again real soon.
(Photo Credits: Chris Perez/Shalyn's "Paint it Gold" Workspace; Elizabeth Giorgi)