Can You Go a Whole Day without This?

It’s the first thing I reach for in the morning and the last thing I put down before closing my eyes at night. I spend approximately 10-15 hours each day with it. But that’s about to change.

Starting immediately, I’ll be choosing one day each week to take a technology sabbatical. No phone. No laptop. No email. No internet.

OK, I have to admit, I feel a little shaky just typing that. wires

I’m that person who reaches for the phone to answer any and every question that comes up for me or during conversations with others. I’m known as the resourceful one who can find anything online, get the best deal, and discover the latest hack.

This constant online connection has become such an integral part of my world and yet it has disconnected me from, well, me. This easy access has made my brain lazy. No longer must I search the recesses of my mind to remember the name of that movie, and I can count on one hand the number of phone numbers I have memorized.

On the other hand, spending so much time on technology works my brain in a different way; a more frenetic way. I jump from topic to topic, juggling way too many tasks at once. At any given time, I’ll have several apps open on my phone — maps, email, SMS, the internet — toggling between them almost frantically.

Like any other muscle, the brain needs recovery time. Expecting it to jump from navigation to family scheduling to work email to Words with Friends is a bit taxing! Feeling pulled in all of these directions is crazy-making, but I’m choosing to be pulled, and I can choose to break free.

Studies show that when I put down the electronics and let my brain exhale by, say, taking a walk in nature, I improve my cognitive function and decrease my likelihood for negative thoughts and rumination. That’s quite an incentive!

For a while, I stopped bringing my phone into bed. I would charge it in another room, and by night two, I was already sleeping better. Somewhere, somehow, that routine changed and now the phone is back on my nightstand. I use it as an alarm clock, so that’s an easy excuse to have it nearby, but that, too, is about to change.

Several weeks back, in the Things I’m Lovin’ This Week section, I shared an app a client turned me onto called Forest. When you initiate the app, you’re challenged to not touch your phone for 30 minutes (or whatever time you designate). In that time, the app slowly grows a beautiful, little tree. Toggle off the app or use the phone in any other way, and your tree dies, causing you to start all over.

Using the Forest app has shown me how often I habitually reach for my phone without even thinking. Then I see my tree growing and I set the phone back down. I’ve found it super helpful in picking up the phone less on the days where I’ll allow technology to be part of my day. I strongly suggest checking it out. (Thanks, SJ, for the recommendation!)

I know this will be challenging, but I’m excited to see how things shift in my life as a result of being less checked out and more plugged in, and I don’t mean electronically.

So what do you think? Wanna give it a go with me? Are you ready to take a once-a-week technology sabbatical? I’d love to hear your experience with it!

Have a great week!

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video via / CC BY

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