Here I am at the end of the digital detox experiment. The whole experience was pretty fascinating on a number of levels and I can only imagine what 4 weeks of absolutely no tv or internet would feel like. Due to blogging (and life, really) I was still connected quite a bit but regardless throughout this process I learned a lot about myself and my relationship to media.
I’m going to give you my last observations but my friend Jason’s observations are from a different (and future) point of view since it’s been 4 months since he finished his. At the end of this post, I’m also going to give you a printable on how to do a digital detox yourself!
Angie’s Week 4 Observations
Apparently, I’m a sloth.
3+ weeks in, and at times I still restlessly asked myself “what am I supposed to do?”. This is crazy because my to-do list and fun-things-to-try list are inexplicably large; there’s no reason that I should be acting like a bored nine-year-old. The difference is that those things on my list require energy and action to do. Scrolling down a social network feed or pushing play is lot easier than getting up and organizing the kitchen drawers. So, another reminder that with this detox (as in life) I want to take the easy route even when it may not be the best route.
That burden seems lighter.
Gonna be real here; sometimes social media is
a little rough when you’re struggling through something. For me, it happens to be infertility and the (what feels like) endless barrage of pregnancy announcements and adorable baby/children pics. It’s not that I’m not happy for those people and I’d hate to not know or be able to celebrate with my friends. It’s just that it puts an exclamation point (or dagger, whatevs) on what I’m going through, and serves as a stark reminder of the passing of time, and how the world keeps on changing but my world seemingly stays the same. So taking a break from that, really, is not that bad.
Secondly, missing out on reading hateful comments from humanity on things like simple sports posts is definitely something I did not miss! People are so cruel and cowardly behind their keyboards at times and getting into a Twitter battle over something silly accomplishes nothing but angst.
Lastly, I have so many blogging Facebook groups I’m in (#bloggerprobs) that sometimes I get overwhelmed with all of my saved posts and things to do and comment on. Even though I would take part in threads during this detox, for the most part, I wasn’t very active within those groups. As a result, I think I felt a little less stressed actually. There are pros and cons because I missed a lot of info on things like the big Instagram algorithm change. Everyone was freaking out about what to do about it, and I made a quick decision that I wouldn’t have made had I been involved in my groups. There’s always a flip side….
I underestimate the amount of time it takes to do things.
I was able to more accurately determine how long certain tasks take me. With blogging, this was a really helpful exercise because I can use it as a tool to schedule my day.
The biggest time-sucking culprit is photo editing! I can see clearly now that even without TV as a distraction it takes me a long time! A lot longer than sitting down and writing a post does. The digital detox helped me track the actual amount of time it takes me to do something when I’m not multi-tasking. Yes, I’m faster, but it still takes me way longer than I think it will.
We ate dinner at the table more.
Guilty. So guilty of eating in front of the TV, but I L-O-V-E Jeopardy and since it’s just the two of us and we can’t see the TV from the table, we often TV tray it. It was nice eating at an actual dinner table more often, and since this is something that I want to incorporate as our family grows, it was good practice. Although I do miss my Jeopardy. See you soon Trebek.
Jason’s Final Observations
“It’s funny; when you stop following the normal routine you have on a daily basis, you wind up fitting in lots of other activities and learn a few things in the process, including a bit about yourself.”
” I tackled a large number of projects on my to-do list, read through a few good books, learned about a few new interesting topics ( via technical podcasts..), cooked a bit more than usual, got better on the six string, generally got to bed earlier, and spent more time with the little one.”
Jason definitely crossed more off the to-do list than I did. I found that blogging took so much of my “new” time that I still didn’t get those misc. things done like I had wanted.
“When you try to be successful doing something with TV in the background it takes 10 x longer to do that one thing.”
Five months later….
“I haven’t gotten back to reading comments. It turns out I’m a lot happier not doing that.”
“I’m more apt now to binge watch as opposed to mindlessly watch something or have it on in the background. I’m more purposeful about it.” “I’m also more aware of the amount of time I spend binge watching, and I’ll get out and try to do other things.”
“I used to go to certain news sites every day, and I don’t really do that anymore. The only thing I use is the Apple’s News App on my iPhone, and I only use it right before I go to sleep. It curates all my news all in one place and there are no comments!”
“The things that make me feel worse I haven’t gone back to, but Facebook came back quick. It’s pretty frightening.”
By cutting out all the random 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there social network scrolling, I recovered quite a bit of time in my day that I could use towards other things. I hated missing out on what was going on in the day to day life of my friends and I’m sure that I’ll be back on my FB home feed first thing. However, I intend to be more intentional about how much time I put into doing that. Perhaps carving out 20 minutes a day to go through feeds. Still working that one out…
Not having the TV on caused me to listen to other things like new music or podcasts. I really liked this side effect of the digital detox and it’s also something that I hope to continue in part.
I’m with Jason on the comment thing; I really don’t know if there is any redeeming quality about reading comments on news/sports articles.
I definitely am more focused, and therefore more efficient when I am not multi-tasking as much. Having a better idea now on how long things take me, I am going to continue to do the things that take the most time away from the TV.
My boss observes the Sabbath every week. By observes I mean his meals are already prepared, doesn’t use any electronics kind of observed. I definitely respect this and while I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment, I know that I want to somehow incorporate this digital detox into a Sabbath of sorts. Even if it’s just one day a week of no tv.
Over all I’m glad that I did this; it caused me to be a lot more introspective on why I do certain things and my thought process behind them. It turns out with all the noise it’s easy to lose some of myself.
How To Do A Digital Detox (Successfully) of Your Own
Have you ever thought about doing your own detox? I’d highly recommend it for a number of reasons.
- Time Management & Productivity (great for bloggers!)
- New Interests or Discoveries
- Better Habits
- Potential for Improved Mental Well-Being.
I’ve put together a digital detox printable to help you do your own cleanse/detox. You can pick the duration, although I encourage you to choose a time long enough that you can start to drop habits and create new ones. I set this worksheet at 4 weeks. Like any goal-setting exercise, it’s important to clearly outline what you want to get out of this experiment and how you are going to get there.
Spring cleaning would be a great time and mindset to get in on this so download your (free) Digital Detox Printable here!
Someday I want to go on some type of spa retreat where there’s no cell phone use or internet and see how I’d do. It would definitely take things to the next level. Who’s with me? 🙂