Is It Time to Unplug?

unplug2014

Do you have multiple cell phones? Do you find it hard to get through a conversation without posting an update to Facebook? Do you take your iPad to the beach on vacation? Is your computer always on?  - National Day of Unplugging

The future is here. We can do so much with a piece of technology that fits in the palm of our hand. We can buy airline tickets, write a novel, send a note to a friend thousands of miles away, have a video call with a person one street or desk over, pay bills, take photos and invite friends out for a walk in the forest. It’s good. It really is.

But sometimes it slips away from us. It’s that second slice of cake or the impulsive decision to buy six boxes of toilet paper because it’s a great deal without thinking that you’ll have to store it all for a year. It’s temptation and distraction and even envy and jealousy and apathy and a glow that pulls you into a rabbit hole of links and cyber wandering that keeps you up far later than you intended.

I struggle with it. The Internet that is. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have a smartphone and I deleted my personal Facebook account a few years back. Lovely beautiful easy technology can turn ugly for me. It can be a crutch, a time waster and a source of dissatisfaction and comparing.

Recently I joined Instagram. Mostly it’s to see photos of a niece and nephew I would otherwise miss with no Facebook account. I’ve kept my follow list small and limited to just close friends and family. They post infrequently and I could easily stay current with just checking the account once a week and yet, I’ve slowly started checking it a few times a day. When I’m bored or putting off a task it’s that thing that let’s me avoid the present.

On Friday I’m going to take an Internet and social media reset by joining thousands of other people in the National Day of Unplugging. From sundown on Friday March 7th to sundown on Saturday March 8th I’ll abstain from using my computer, my mobile phone and watching television. My little iPod will be tucked away for 24 hours.

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We increasingly miss out on the important moments of our lives as we pass the hours with our noses buried in our iPhones and BlackBerry’s, chronicling our every move through Facebook and Twitter and shielding ourselves from the outside world with the bubble of “silence” that our earphones create.   If you recognize that in yourself – or your friends, families or colleagues— join us in taking the Unplug Challenge and start living a different life: connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child. – National Day of Unplugging

 

 

What will I do with no screens to steal my time and attention? Sleep a bit better (children willing), get a few more pages in for the book club selection (100 Years of Solitude), probably catch a few more of the tentative first steps our youngest is sneaking in and when the compulsion would normally hit to check my email or surf the Internet, I’ll engage more. Engage with those around me, with the task at hand, with staring out our lovely windows and taking in the beach. Perhaps I’ll even throw the wellies on, grab the kids and go for a stomp in the tide pools in the rain and every present wind.

So, I’m asking: will you join all of us? Can you put the screens down, the phones away and the television shuttered for just 24 hours?

I know it’s not easy. I once did a week offline. It was lovely but challenging. The old way of doing things is becoming obsolete so you may have to hold off on some tasks, or write down some phone numbers, or even tell people you’ll be unreachable for a day. There is a bit of work involved but I promise, it will be worth it. Who’s ready to unplug for 24 hours?

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Comments

  1. Katie @ The surly housewife says

    I won’t be unplugging this weekend (weekends are my time to catch up on work) but I will be unplugging next weekend when my husband and I are away for the weekend with friends. No need to check anything. All the reasons I check will be right with me!! I have found myself checking social media when I get bored so I cleaned up my friends on FB and turned on notifications for my closest friends. That way I knew I didn’t need to check it until I saw a notification. It has made a big difference!!

    • theminimalistmom says

      Thanks for including this link, Lauren. The National Day of Unplugging is organized by the SabbathManifesto.org and people can read more about their work at their website.

  2. Tracy says

    I’m not sure i will be completely unplugging. I have everything I do in my tablet. Books including library are on my kindle, all my recipes and menu for the week, etc, etc are on my tablet…including my alarm clock..can’t do without that. I think in order to minimize my stuff I have consolidated many physical items to one plugged in one.

  3. Carole says

    I want to so this but don’t know how to avoid being around these things with my iPhone as our only phone. And what do you do about text messages? :) Lots of self control required here!

  4. KitÉ says

    I did join the last time this was held. It was liberating!

    But I have to pass this weekend or maybe use my mobile phone limitedly since Carnevale is on Saturday & will be meeting some friends w/ their children. It will be hard to find one another & easy to get lost in a very crowded place.

  5. eva says

    Its hard for me to unplug completely, as my cell goes, its impossible, thats how I get updates on kids if I’m away at work. However, I don’t have FB or any social media, I check my emails once a week or so, I do check your blog and a few websites about crafting, baking and simplicity almost everyday, but only for about half hour total in all ( I do feel guilty about it though as my time at home its getting more limited due to work. But I will try to unplug from the computer which is the only thing I can honestly give up, I have done it before for days. But its hard.

  6. rebeccahalpern2013 says

    I have been trying to do this on a smaller scale, by not looking at Facebook so often, particularly at the weekend. I have often been guilty of being distracted with Facebook instead of talking to the children, which I feel quite bad about. I would find it difficult to not access the internet at all, as I look up so much info on it – for example we are going to see family on the other side of London at the weekend and I look up the trains before travelling to check there are no delays. I might try a “no Facebook” challenge sometime though as it does eat up a lot of my time!

  7. Lisa Brown says

    I made it about 12 hours without and screens. Not as long as I had hoped, but better than nothing. I’m going to try it more often – it feels good to be screen-free for a bit. :)

    • theminimalistmom says

      Nice work! I agree, it feels really good to just put the computer away and not have the tv on for 24 hours.
      I made a scheduling blunder and ended up needing to have my cell phone on. Of course, then a friend texted and… I checked it and answered. Not terrible but not what I set out to do.
      Might participate in screen free week if I it doesn’t interfere with some work projects.

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