Sunday, September 16, 2012

24 Hours Without the Internet

I went 24 hours without the Internet this weekend. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I read all of my email on Saturday morning, took a quick look at Facebook, and since I didn't have any Meetup events planned this weekend (where members may be trying to contact me) I decided to tell the Internet to screw it. I wanted to take a break from computer screens and constant access and have a technology-free day. 

No accessing email, neither personal nor work. No visiting Facebook. No playing Angry Birds. 

No Twitter, no Hootsuite, not even for the company I help out with social media on the side. 

No texting. 

No dealing with questions from Meetup members, or approving anyone new who wanted to join. They would simply have to wait. I was inaccessible for the day.

I turned my phone on only once later at night, and that was to snap some pictures...then I immediately shut it down. 

If you're wondering what my day was like being Internet free, it was pure bliss. 

I read--a lot. I finished one book I'd been kicking around for the past two weeks and started a second one (which, as of this posting, is about 3/4 of the way finished.) No Kindles or Nooks--old school books in hardcover.

I worked on a fall sweater that's nearly done--just the collar is left to knit. I played with my cats. I strummed my guitar (which I haven't taken out the case for months now...sadly, all the callouses on my left hand have disappeared. I'm working on remedying that.) 

I did some major cleaning and reorganizing of summer clothes that will be put away for the months ahead. The only thing I didn't do was work out, because I had to leave my house by 3:30.

My verdict? All in all, it was a really great day. Refreshing, even. Surprisingly, even though I had no place to go until Saturday night, I felt amazingly productive. I spend so much time during the workweek in front of a computer, and sometimes for an extra hour or two at nights during the week, that I feel like computer screens in general suck energy from me through my eyeballs (and keep me from falling asleep right away if I'm on it right before bedtime...not a good idea.) 

The day also went by REALLY fast.

Remember what life was like before the Internet and smartphones? I think my 24 hour purge helped me remember. I discovered that I didn't care what my Facebook connections were up to. I didn't worry about anyone trying to reach me. Had there been a dire emergency or something I absolutely had to know right away, I would have been contacted on the landline. I was starting to think the country should promote an Internet-free holiday...you know, one of those obscure holidays that never gets a promotion like National Ice Cream Sundae Day or Elephant Appreciation Day (yes, these do exist.) Then I did a search and discovered one is already in the works: No Internet Day.

Unfortunately, I did need to log back on and return to reality today in anticipation of the week ahead. But whenever possible, I'm taking another 24 hour hiatus from the Web.  

Have you ever taken a break from technology and the Internet? Did it help you reconnect with yourself or loved ones?

3 comments:

ApacheDug said...

Excellent piece Pam, and I wish I had the discipline to do this; I sit in front of a computer screen at least 8 hours a day (for work) too, and almost every Friday I promise myself not to waste my weekend wandering around online--yet I always do. It's a tough habit to break :(

I think I'll read this blog of yours again 1-2 more times this week. Hopefully it will be just the inspiration I need!

JZ said...

I periodically try this, on a couple of occasions I've been able to avoid it for a day, but it usually works out that I will at least pop on and look at my e-mail. It's an addiction, and it's tough to break.

One aspect of it though...I now only very rarely watch TV and have cut the cable. Saves a good $120 bucks a month...:)

TammyR said...

Now that I have a smart phone, it's hard to disconnect, even for a few hours. The only time I am able to go without the Internet seems to be when I'm on vacation somewhere tropical :-)

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