Trying to Log off | Why?
‘Busy’ is my norm, and staying logged on is what I do. So, trying to log off and go offline is a really tall order and a big ask. I have a to-do list, so long that writing it down seems futile. There is always … always … always … something I need to be doing, despite my
waddling pregnancy swag.
I can’t remember how many times my husband has expressed his concern about my attachment to my mobile, and challenged me to take breaks from it. I’ve gone from being nonchalant about social media to fully embracing it during my last maternity leave, and my modern year old-ish smartphone has made this so much easier.
So, Time to Log Off’s Digital Detox Christmas Challenge – #PresenceNotPresents – with Punkt, caught my attention. What better time of the year to go the extra mile in giving your family ‘the gift of your attention’.
As you can probably guess, my husband liked the sound of it, and felt trying to log off and staying offline was definitely worthwhile.
Trying to Log off | Challenge
Well, I love a good challenge … and I decided to go for it. I mean, how hard can trying to log for 2 days be? We’re talking about Christmas eve and Christmas day here – probably the best 2 days to especially prioritise real life over mindless tapping and screen scrolling, replying emails and catching up with online tasks.
My, I can’t remember the last time I had hours of unadulterated, internet-free, and uninterrupted family or even me-time. The thought of it seems impossible, but the challenge of it feels liberating … freedom from digital buttons and keyboard pads … freedom from squinting eyes tired from looking at so many screens.
So yes, I’m taking the challenge. And come to think of it, this is a time my life will be taking … probably another really drastic turn, as I go from bump care to baby care. Good challenge combination, I think; each will probably make the other easier.
Trying to Log off | Trial run prep
I had to do a trial run last week, with the help of the support package that was sent to me free of charge, for my honest and independent opinion.
- A journal, pencil, sharpener, and a pack of colouring pencils, to express my thoughts and calm my super active brain … lovely therapy – fab for one’s mental well-being
- The minimalist – distraction / internet-free – but stylish Punkt phone
- And an infographic with suggestions on how to make the digital detox trial work.
I grew up with minimal screen time, and the internet was barely part of my life until I got to university. And as someone who appreciates the extent to which reading, creativity, talking, and the outdoors contributes to childhood imagination, screen time is one I’m not a great fan of, for my toddler.
Yet, I give myself unlimited screen time.
Reading the stats on the infographic got me thinking, though. Did you know that:
- Smartphone users check their mobiles about 150 times a day
- On average, adults spend 8 hours and 41 mins every day on screens, with social media accounting for 1 hour 42 mins of that
Trying to Log off | Trial run experience
The trial was way more challenging that I thought it would be. My, it was hard … very difficult … out of my depths … you name it.
Yep, you guessed right, I didn’t do too well.
In theory, I thought I could do it. I really tried to catch up on my pending work to reduce my concerns about all the stuff I really need to get done sooner than later.
The statistics bothered me – how often do I check my phone? I’m not sure I want to know really, but the 150 times on average seemed possible … and not one that makes me feel good. I definitely didn’t spend that much time on my phone less than a year ago, when I had a pretty basic smartphone.
And the amount of time I potentially spend on screens, and even more on social media unsettled me; even if it’s more for work than leisure.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t unplug cold turkey. At work, I had to use the computer, though I kept it to the minimum I could get away with. And with my family, I made more effort to have blocks of time off the net when we were together. But trying to log off … cutting off my internet use … keeping away from the screens … for 2 whole days … just like that … didn’t work for me. I couldn’t get rid of the unconscious and sometimes mindless digital itch, though I managed to resist it for periods during the day.
Trying to Log off | What next?
I’m thankful for the practice run; it showed me how attached I was to my phone, and how reliant I was on the internet. Even more, it’s inspired me to rethink my relationship with the digital and to gradually create intentional pockets of digital detox within my days, weeks, and months.
So, I will be found trying to log off again on the 24th and 25th of December. But I think it would be easier this time; with something much more pressing on my mind … someone who especially needs my attention in a way that can’t be delegated … my new baby.
Nonetheless, I really look forward to making changes in my approach to the encroachment of the digital in my daily life. My children will be young for only so long, and I want to set better digital interaction examples for them.
I’d love to go on one of Time to Log Off’s week-long digital detox, but even more, I plan to make small daily changes to minimise the impact of the digital on my real life.
Could you do with a digital detox?