Today I’m asking you to do something that’s really going to give you some objectivity on your tech habits. It might sound a little daunting, but I’m here to tell you that it is doable. AND that it is powerful. Even fun.
Can you guess what it is?
Yes, I’m talking about taking a tech-free day. Dun dun DUN.
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Why? Because you can’t get perspective on something that you use all the time until you give yourself a break from it.
It’s like this:
When you have to get a colonoscopy, you have to fast for the entire day before your procedure. When I got a colonoscopy seven years ago, because I have a family history of colon stuff, and I went that day without eating, I was amazed to see how much time I spent each day thinking about food, preparing food, eating food, and cleaning up afterwards. I mean, it was mind-blowing!
It really got me thinking about my food habits, and how I might have been using them to procrastinate, or distract myself from hard but important stuff. And it helped me shift into doing more prep ahead cooking or cooking bigger quantities so I could eat more leftovers. It was one day that had long-lasting effects.
Same idea here.
Find A Hobby You Enjoy
Today’s Friday, so the weekend is coming up. For most of us, we’re less ‘on call’ during the weekends so that makes Saturday or Sunday great days for taking a tech-free vacation.
Here’s the thing, though: As motivated as you might be to take a break from your phone and computer, you’re going to need something to fill the void. Something that you enjoy. Something like a HOBBY.
Ideally, this is something that you enjoy doing so much that you will want to keep doing it even after your official tech-free day. That enjoyment will naturally help you from letting your tech creep back into all available time in your life.
Got any ideas what this thing might be? Could you work in the yard? Or go golfing, or hiking, or skiing? Do a jigsaw puzzle? Or practice playing the bass? It doesn’t matter what it is, so long as you like it and it’s absorbing to you. Don’t torture yourself.
Something else you’re going to have to do is remind yourself that it is ok to be temporarily unreachable. I know this isn’t easy. The expectation that we should always be a text, call, or email away is internal as well as external. But there was a time when you frequently wouldn’t be able to get ahold of someone for several days. We lived.
It’s ok to leave your phone downstairs when you go to bed and not pick it up again until you’re up and out of bed the next morning.
And it’s ok to leave your phone at home while you run errands.
It’s ok to pick a day a week when you leave your phone in a drawer.
It’s OK to not check email for a day.
It is helpful to alert the people who might want to reach you what you’re up to. You can put a vacation alert on your email account, and tell people when you’ll be back online. You can do the same thing with your text messages—something I didn’t know you could do until I just now Googled it.
The process is a little complicated—I suggest googling How to Set Away Messages on Your Phone and look for the wired.com article with that headline to talk you through it. When you tell people what to expect from you, and that will help you not feel bad about taking that time away.
Daily Tiny Assignment
So think about it right now—at what point of this coming weekend will you designate as tech-free? Will it be a whole day? Or just a couple hours? It doesn’t matter as much how long you choose as much as matters that you consciously decide NOW so that when the time comes you just have to abide by your decision.
I hope you have a cool experience with your tech-free time. If you do, of course, I’d really love to hear about it. Use the contact kate button at beabetterpersonpodcast.com to tell me about, or tweet me —you know, after your tech-free time is through. 🙂