According to theguardian.com, people are checking their phones every 12 minutes. Some of us are spending up to 4 hours a day looking at a small glowing screen, that’s more than an entire day every week!
Do you know how people say “there aren’t enough days in the week”? Well, I think there might be, we just aren’t using our time effectively because we’re addicted to our phones.
The National Day of Unplugging is a 24-hour period to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with reality. To spend quality time with loved ones, relax and unwind.
This year, from sundown to sundown, March 1-2 is the 10th annual National Day of Unplugging.
What To Do Instead
If you’re stumped on what to do during your offline time, here are some ideas:
- Check your to-do list – you finally have the time to cross a few things off
- Go swimming or paddle in the sea
- Sunbathe on the beach with a good book
- Take a walk in nature
- Visit local attractions – like the library, museum, coffee shop, public parks or gardens, a nature reserve
- Work on a skill, hobby or talent
- Be productive – you could clean your home, wash the car, organise your papers, hit the gym or do a home workout, for example
- Bake! Dust off those cookbooks and start creating some yummy goodness
- Speaking of creating, you can build, paint, draw, write, finish a project or decorate
- Go for a bike ride
- Have a picnic somewhere new
- Play board games with family and friends
- Sports – football, cricket, tennis, netball, basketball, you know the drill
The Benefits of Unplugging
If you regularly take some time away from devices you can experience the benefits that will bring. Like:
> More quality time with family and friends
> Better sleep – you won’t be disturbed by notifications and will get a full nights’ sleep if you turn your devices off or don’t allow them in the bedroom at all
> You’ll see what you’ve been missing – the way your loved ones look at you during a conversation, the shapes the clouds make, a lampost that you may have walked into had you been looking down at your phone
> You’ll realise that you do have time, and you’ll use it more wisely
> You’ll grow into a better version of yourself. One who is less stressed, less anxious, more creative, and more focused
How Do You Do It?
Whether you’re joining with the National Day of Unplugging on March 1st to 2nd, a different day, a few hours, or a few weeks, here’s how to do it.
Put it away. As in away from you. Having the device in your bag or pocket makes it too easy to reach for it absent-mindedly. Keeping them in another room or inside a drawer creates a barrier you need to cross to get to it, hopefully stopping you in your tracks.
Create no screen zones, and stick to them. Such as the bedroom, bathroom, dining table, the first hour you’re home after school or work.
Turn it off. Either completely, or put it on silent and flight mode.
Go outside and be present. Leave your phone at home if you can, or turn it off and leave it alone.
Turn off the Wi-Fi at the source. If you live alone or have managed to get your family on board with screen-free time, turning off the household Wi-Fi means you would have to physically go and turn it back on when you want to use it, creating another barrier and hopefully stopping you.
Alternatively, just turn off the devices’ Wi-Fi and data. No more pings from unnecessary notifications, but you can still receive phone calls and text messages.
Have an unplugging bag. Rebooters can send you one for free, you could make your own, or you could just use an old bag or similar.
I took the pledge to take part in the National Day of Unplugging 2019 (and managed to convince my kids to join me).
Friday after sundown
1. First, we made a list of everything we could do for the rest of today and tomorrow that didn’t involve the use of devices and screens.
2. Then I helped my youngest finish a short story she’d written. We designed the front cover and coloured it in.
3. After that, the kids picked some mug cakes they wanted to make later and we added the ingredients to a list.
4. We went shopping with the handwritten shopping list.
5. Then, we enjoyed each other’s company as we sat around the table and ate chicken salad for dinner.
6. I folded and put away some clothes, something I usually put off as I hate folding.
7. We had ice cream together.
8. About this time I realised that our home was a lot louder and there was more laughter than usual.
9. I had a relaxing soak in the tub while the kids made the mug cakes they’d chosen.
10. I took care of myself. I took the time to leave in a hair mask for a bit and moisturise my body rather than just my face and hands.
11. I enjoyed talking to my youngest for a while before tucking her into bed.
12. Then I did a puzzle with my eldest until it was her bedtime.
13. Took myself to bed, realising I haven’t touched my phone for over 5 hours and feeling pretty pleased with myself.
Saturday before sundown
1. I took the time to have a conversation with my other half.
2. As a family, we played around and laughed, something we didn’t usually do as often as we should.
3. I wrote in my journals and diary.
4. Then, unfortunately, I needed to go to work. So hubby dropped me off.
5. I don’t ordinarily slack off at work, but I did notice I was a bit more efficient today.
6. A friend of my fiancé picked me up from work as he was heading to ours anyway.
7. I chatted with them for a bit before they went to work on the cars.
8. Then, I worked on the puzzle with the kids until we finished it.
9. My youngest asked if we could have tech-free time more often (success!)
10. We had a couple of hours of daylight left, and my eldest was starting to struggle for a bit. She wanted to go on her phone or laptop, but also didn’t want to give up so close to sundown.
11. We decided to play monopoly, which not only took use through sundown but also till 8 at night when our takeaway order arrived and we’d had enough of the game.
There were some things that I thought I would do in my screenless time that I didn’t. I imagined I would write some more or exercise, but the time I had with my family was well spent.
I will definitely be incorporating slots of device-free time into our weeks so we can stay connected as a family.
Did you take the pledge to unplug on Friday, March 1st? Let me know how it went.