I attempted to go without technology yesterday.
It was easier to give up sugar, wine and chocolate for two weeks. I never once caved for a craving then.
But, yesterday I didn’t make it past Step 1: I checked email on my phone a few times.
I can give up chocolate but not email? How wrong is that?
The first falter was during an early a.m. check via the phone to delete spam and irrelevant press releases that clog up my inbox. Easy quick y ya. I thought that was a good-enough fix.
But, then, in line at the grocery, I checked the time on my phone (who wears a watch anymore) and without thinking, hit the inbox icon. I had gotten a personal email that required my attention and it threw me off. Ay, it threw me off what was supposed to be a day about freedom and reflection — a day to figure out how to use technology in a way that it works for me, not me working for it.
I have a lot of detoxing to do.
I don’t want to be a caricature of my era. Like this:
La vida es muy corta para andar como boba. I crave less technology.
But, truth is, when I wasn’t online, I was thinking about not being online. What I have known in my gut, was made very clear: The technology that awards me the freedom to work for myself and to enjoy friends and family who are far away, also shackles me and steals too many minutes a day on minutea. Minutes that can add up to hours. I need some boundaries.
Here’s what going tech-free-ish taught me…
The Tech-Free Do-Over To Dos
- I will add an auto-response in the email account to announce I am not around. I think it will lessen my “anxiety” about leaving the impression that I am slow to respond, ignoring or missing something. I got an email from a freelance client yesterday and I ended up sending a quick text that I’d call the next day. Had auto-response been in place, it would have been OK to let it go.
- I’m aiming for tech-free weekends because a weekday black out means I am behind on work. (I got up at 4:30 a.m. to write this and catch up.)
- Checking Facebook and deleting or responding to emails this morning was not bad. The truth is, doing it in little chucks throughout the day is a time suck. The new goal is to limit social networking check-ins.
The Small Victories
- I did chores and ran errands without checking the phone at every pit stop…and at red lights. (A habit that needs to go bye-bye, especially way before my kid start driving…)
- I sat on my porch with my dog, a cup of tea and my journal. For a beautiful hour, in my favorite spot, I reflected and wrote goals and visions for myself, my family, my career. I was refreshed and refocused. Delicioso.
- I didn’t check email before bed, a habit I have been trying to break for a long time. OK, seriously, checking email before bed is a very dangerous and horrible habit — you never know what’s waiting for you in there that can and will disturb the peace before sleep and really, if it is something that needs immediate attention, the call or text will come.
- No Tweeting, No Facebook. No problem. Nadie se murio.
- My daughter and husband didn’t see me looking at the smartphone or laptop once yesterday.
- And, hey, I didn’t take the phone into the bathroom with me yesterday. Victory is sweet.
Can you, or do you, go technology-free?
Do you feel you need a tech detox? (Here’s some tech detox talk at our Facebook community.)
If you need inspiration, check out the Sabbath Manifesto, and its National Day of Unplugging March 23-24, 2012.