In keeping with my recent thoughts on simplicity, my husband and I decided it would be a good experiment to see how we would fare without our most oft-used technology and media devices – phones, internet and computers, TV, radio, and car. After all, there were lots of projects to be done around the house, and we both had stacks of books to read! On a Friday night before going to bed, we turned off the phones, Ipads, etc. and settled in.
The next morning, I did find myself reflexively reaching for the phone to view texts and emails. I realized this was an automatic habit for me every morning, whether headed into work or not. And sometimes, the messages we get can cause stress or distraction from other morning tasks at hand! We went on a nice walk with the dog (something we would have done anyway). We did a satisfying round of cleaning and organizing in the garage. Things moved along smoothly. Until the afternoon came…
My husband decided he really needed to write a work email, as he was going to be unavailable all day Monday and it was looming over his head. In this particular circumstance (one that could easily occur with people who have irregular work hours or are self-employed), the stress of NOT completing this work item was worse than any stress caused by using the connective devices to do so. After he mentioned this to me, I confessed to him my burning desire to go donate the things we had just cleaned from the garage. If I didn’t drive to the donation center that day, I would have to wait a week to get those bulky items out of there.
So that’s how the “technology vacation” turned into more of a “fast” at 1:37 pm on a Saturday! We continued modified technology limitations throughout the weekend, including no phone calls or texting. I kept my social media apps closed. I wouldn’t call this a botched experiment by any means; it was more of a learning experience. We have gone multiple days without phones or internet while on ideal vacations and camping trips before. However, things are different when you try to go without technological conveniences at home.
One great thing about modern living and the technology we have at our disposal is the ability to send messages, do errands, talk to others, etc. when it is most convenient for us. After all, an internal locus of control is key for stress management. But the convenience of modern technology can turn into a crutch. Its ease of use and ubiquitous presence can become a distraction from face-to-face living and doing.
This experience has prompted me to further streamline my use of social media and blog sites. It has inspired me to avoid my devices first thing in the morning and to set them aside earlier in the evening (I will admit I’ve noticed an improvement in sleep already!) What do you think? Cop-out or lesson learned? What would you have done differently? Share your thoughts here!