A 24 Hour Challenge to Unplug


I did it last year and I’m doing it again this year.

Last year I took a week offline. It was eye opening and restorative and challenging. I learned a lot. It was similar to a nutritional cleanse: at the end of it I felt ready to commit to better habits.

This year I am committing to 24 hours.

Not because I am not up for the challenge of a week but because I’m not feeling tethered to screens right now. I’m struggling to find the time, and motivation, to open my laptop. I’d rather be sleeping or reading if I have a few moments to myself.

I was using an app on my iPod to keep track of diapers, sleep and nursing with Wil but stopped when I found it kept me up more than I liked. That screen flicking on in the dark to record a feed or poopy diaper was waking me up more than the task at hand.  Also, Wil was gaining weight so I didn’t need to track his intake and outtake for medical reasons.

So this year I am pledging to unplug for 24 hours, from sundown on Friday March 1st to sundown on Saturday March 2nd, as part of the National Day of Unplugging.

No cell phone, no television, no computer.

I will use my Kindle to read. And I’ll be reading Sherry Turkel’s Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Fitting, right?

Anyone else up for the challenge? You can pledge here and I will make sure to put a reminder up on March 1st. 


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  • I’ve gotten into the habit of having the television on for background noise. I could easily not use a computer or cell phone that day (I don’t like talking on the phone and I frequently don’t log into my computer on weekends) but I’d probably feel compelled to turn on a radio for background noise – is that cheating?

  • My kids have annually done “tv turn off” week with school but I think they need to update that to “unplug” all screens! My teen could live in her room with her ipad and be watching netflix 24/7 while skyping, snap chatting, facebooking and tumbr-ing on her phone all at the same time while reading an e-book :)
    I signed the pledge for 24 hours March 1st.
    And I am going to encourage the rest of my family members to join me…
    it might take bribery lol

  • Love this- I have my iPad on constantly, and often have the TV on for no good reason. My mobile is not really an issue for me, as it is not ‘smart’. Have signed the pledge- looking forward to it, so might try a trial run tomorrow…I feel like I could do so many of the things that I have been meaning to do (sewing, gardening etc) if I spent less time computing and TVing…

  • Wow – I really wish that I could do this challenge, but being with a job that requires me to be on-call all the time, I find that its really hard to do that. Or maybe that’s just in my head. Sometimes I feel like I have to check my email on the weekends just to ensure there are no emergencies, but there are never any true emergencies. I am making excuses because I feel the danger sign going off just by the thought of unplugging for a day. I think that should be reason enough for me to take the plunge. Thanks for the post.

  • I just spent two weeks without even reading e-mail. We were on a holiday and it was completely wonderful to be unplugged. At home I spend way too much on the computer…

  • Rachel,

    We do this every Tuesday – no email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no work at all. We only get online to Skype with family/friends. We’ve been doing it for almost three years now, and they are the best days of our week.

    Incidentally, we are reading Alone Together now, and it’s not exactly what we thought it would be. It focuses a lot (at least in the first half of the book) on robotics and our interactions with non-humans… I was hoping it would be more about our relationship with technology, social media, and the internet. In case that’s not exactly what you are looking for either, I HIGHLY recommend “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr. It will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about the internet, your Kindle, and anything and everything you read on a screen. Fascinating and brilliant.


    • Melissa – Thank you. I love hearing that successful people, people that use social media for work, take regular breaks!
      Getting “The Shallows” now. Will read Alone Together as well but excited for another recommendation.
      Cheers, Rachel

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