A while ago I read a blog from a fellow copywriter – Kate Toon. She talked about going on a digital detox, ditching the digital space for an entire week. No laptops. No tablets. No smart phone. No desktop. Instead, she was going to “exercise, play dinosaurs with my son, take long walks on the beach with my overweight dog, meditate, do some dance lessons, cook real food from scratch, work on the garden”.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? I applauded Kate at the time. I knew it was a great decision. One that I’d like to make myself but, in my heart, I also knew I wouldn’t be able to do the same.
My smart phone is one of the tools I couldn’t live without. I check it when I wake up. I check it before I go to sleep. I’m embarrassed to admit it but I have it within arm’s reach all day – even while I’m sitting at my desktop.
The idea of not being connected to everything all the time sounds good on paper but it made my scalp itch a little…until my smart phone died.
The day my smart phone died
It was a new phone I bought off eBay, and a big old hardware failure rendered it useful only as a paperweight. It wasn’t even a good paperweight.
I’m not ready to sign up to another contract so I opened my “old phone” drawer and pulled out my Sony Ericsson something or other. I remember thinking it was so cool when I got it but accessing the internet wasn’t part of its regular functionality.
I was disconnected.
I could call. I could text. But what about Twitter? Google +? Emails? What exciting nuggets would pass me by while I woke up properly, or had breakfast? Or when I left the house?
But then, I survived
It wasn’t a complete digital detox. I was still on my desktop all day. I was far from disconnected, really. But with temptation taken out of my reach I wasn’t working all the time. I actually found time to be idle before and after time in the office.
My brain had time to clear. I daydreamed, I pondered, I played with my dog and chatted to my husband.
It was marvellous!
What did I learn?
I’ve since been able to borrow a smart phone. I spent an evening glued to the screen, installing apps and customising my settings.
What I didn’t do was set any notifications.
Now when I check my phone first thing in the morning, I can’t tell if I have a new email, tweet, Facebook message or G+ comment. Until I make the conscious decision to check any of those things, I’m none the wiser.
Until I go to my office to start work, I still have time to ponder and daydream, to play with my dog and chat to my husband.
It’s the start of a new normal and I think I like it.