I Turned My WiFi Off at 7 p.m. Every Night for a Week—Here’s What Happened

updated Oct 5, 2020
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Last week, I turned off my WiFi at 7 p.m. every night and—spoiler alert—I can’t say it “changed my life.” But it did do something just as profound: Hitting that off button provided just enough of a shake up for me to get a jumpstart on a project I’ve wanted to do and establish a work routine I’ve been wanting to adopt.

While I try hard to maintain some white space in our large family (there are seven of us) by not over-scheduling, I have found that I operate best with established routines and parameters. But life lately has stripped me of most of the outward limits that used to structure my time, leaving me with little discretionary time. The bulk of my day is now spent wavering between work, helping with digital home school, and facilitating a Mommy Tot program for my two youngest children. As a result, I can’t count on being able to get all my work done during the day.

Turning off my WiFi at 7 p.m. presented a unique problem: I couldn’t put work on the back burner until the end of the day. I had to find another time to get it done, and because I absolutely cannot write well with interruptions and still maintain nice mommy equilibrium, I determined to work the only other time it’s quiet around here: before everyone gets up.

This new schedule worked well. Rather than waking up between five and six in the morning, staying in bed, and entertaining the anxieties of my not-quite-roused, still-in-the-dark mind, I got up and out of bed and, as they say, I seized the day. I put on my exercise clothes, drank my coffee, read my devotional, then began tapping on the keyboard, well-rested and focused. I got my work for the day done before the time that my days had typically been starting, and I felt quite like I’d caught my worm.

My night work routine, without an end time, had felt open-ended. Too often, caught between my deadlines and the need to wind down from the day, I’d procrastinate. My morning routine, on the other hand, had a built-in end time (i.e. when the kids started waking up) that compelled me to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of my time.

Did I make prudent use of that time to actually relax and wind down, read my Kindle, and maybe throw in a little bedtime yoga before I got to bed at a decent time, so I could wake up early the next day? Of course not! I decided to paint the interior of our house.

Let me explain: When you’ve been slow-burn loathing the butter color of your walls and you’re surrounded by them all day every day for months on end, you jump on the first opportunity to remedy that situation.

Although the light is less than ideal, nighttime is really the only time a DIYer with five children can realistically paint without mishaps. And since turning off my WiFi finally freed up that block of time, I did it.

Here is the thing, though: I don’t think the technicality of having the time open was the only reason I was able to tackle a project that had been on my mind for so long. The chain reaction created by not having WiFi available at night, not being able to work during my default time, and switching work to the morning changed the course of my whole day. I started the day off strong and accomplished, and I was able to be more present in my daily tasks and joys, because nothing was hanging over me.

Overall, I was happier. Once the kids were down, I wasn’t as drained as I usually am from being torn in a million directions all day—and then having to finish my work as I’m running on fumes. Instead, I not only had the time, but also the mental capacity to take on the physically demanding, tedious chore of painting. Submitting to a set of time parameters gave me the freedom found in boundaries. In this case, it came in the shape of satisfaction from knowing that I had used the time I had well and the empowerment that follows.

Five stars. Would recommend.