In an effort to cut down on my face to screen time, and increase my monthly savings a tiny bit, I recently dropped down the data plan for my phone. I did some very sophisticated math over donuts and figured that most of my time is spent working from home or a cafe, both of which have WiFi, so I should never even get close to a data overage. I’m big enough to admit when I’m wrong. Five days before my billing cycle, and one day after I arrived in Hawaii for vacation, I received the dreaded email I was currently at 95% of my data usage until the end of my billing cycle. I am fully aware that upping my data plan is not that expensive, but I didn’t want to take the easy way out. Instead I decided to break up with my phone, the internet, and all useful apps (mainly Yelp and Pinterest) for the duration of my vacation.
I really hate to admit how tied to my phone I am. In addition to my own personal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter I manage accounts for a few organizations I work with so it is sort of always running in the back of my head. I have gotten pretty good about checking feeds at specific times during the day, rather than every time I have a down second, which has worked out well. But I have never just cast my phone to the side and said “screw it!” At first it felt really good, but then I got worried. What if I miss an important email or notification? I persisted, no phone. I focused on enjoying present experiences and company instead.
Did I run back and check my phone every time I was in the room (because free wifi) ? Yes, I did. Did I post several amazing sunset pictures and a status update from my fiance’s phone? Yes. Was there any revolutionary Facebook emergencies or Tweets that I missed? No. After I settled in to being disconnected it started to feel really nice, I would stare at my phone before I drifted off to sleep and think “don’t know, don’t care.” I wasn’t checking my email first thing in the morning or watching cat videos over breakfast. I sat out on the lanai and drank coffee in my bathing suit – sans phone, sans responsibilities, and reveled. By the end of my vacation (and the beginning of my new billing cycle) I was kind of dreading being connected again.
So even though I’m back from vacay and I have a new data plan to burn though with social media updates and cat videos I have decided to implement some disconnect time in my every day life. Once a week I’m going to unplug and reconnect with people in my immediate proximity. I am declaring this time “Screen Free Sundays” and I invite you to join me. No phones, no, social media, no TV, no iPad, no distractions. Instead get off your ass and meet someone new, go explore a new city, or just read a book in your backyard with a refreshing glass of sun tea. This is a great opportunity to enjoy time by yourself or give people in your life you love a dose of undivided attention. I promise all the emails, tweets, instagrams, status updates, and cat videos will be waiting for you come Monday.
Are you up for the challenge?