I’m really not sure how I managed to get myself roped into this one – a sponsored digital detox with Time To Log Off and a Punkt phone, texts and calls only – no 4G! This is part of “The Presence Not The Presents” Christmas campaign, which really resonated with me.
I agreed to a smart technology-free Friday and Saturday 24th and 25th of November. No iPhone. No laptop. No social media. ARGH! This is in preparation for doing the same at Christmas – having a fully ‘there’ Christmas, where you focus on people and not that ever-present screen. Presence not presents as it were.
The amount of time I spend on my phone is a concern to me. I find I can’t do anything focused anymore, I have to be on that blasted thing at the same time. I’ll be sitting watching TV with my husband and it will be glued to my hand. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Emails. Twitter. Panda Pop – I just scroll around and around in a vicious cycle. My son will ask me for a drink and I’ll say “in a minute” because I am looking at my phone. That makes me feel very, very guilty. I know he needs to know that I’m not his slave 24/7, but I should at least be more present for him than that.
So…digital detox…how did it go?
Digital Detox Diary: Friday Morning
8.15am I inform my friends that I am doing a smartphone detox. They laugh. My sister gives me until noon max before I break. My best friend asks me if I can just pretend to do it. I say no. Please text me. PLEASE TEXT ME.
8.21am Realise can still access everything iPhone via wifi. This is going to be harder than I thought. Turn off iPhone.
8.22am Text best friend to ask if I’m missing anything. Receive flurry of mocking texts. Cow.
8.45am Realise organising my sister in law to get here is going to be more difficult than usual…I’m going to actually have to SPEAK to people!
8.50am Start very long shower where I contemplate the meaning of life and what to have for dinner later.
9.15am Clean kitchen. Contemplate cleaning kitchen floor. Decide to do some work instead – I’ve told myself I *have* to do some blogging and at least check my emails on my laptop, but only in Rian’s school hours. Once he’s home, it’s all off. And I still have to do my job!
9.30 Don’t have any emails
9.32 No blogging inspiration either.
9.33 I know! I’ll go to the shops! No I won’t, I need to wait in for a parcel. Gah. I’ll just text my sister about the fact that her yappy ex-dog (long story) has just puked all over the floor…
The rest of the day went similarly – I ended up scrubbing the house from top to bottom, doing two loads of washing and putting Mount Clean-Washing away. Readers, I mopped.
We went out on Friday night, so avoiding social media wasn’t quite a difficult as it might usually be. I did, however, miss my Uber app when we had to go out of our way to get a taxi and to also go via a cashpoint to pay said taxi. It was good not be sneaking looks at my phone though!
Saturday was also easier than I expected. I didn’t realise how much I rely on my phone for every day things though – I really missed its useful apps – like a map to find the houses we were supposed to be viewing! We just about managed though – how did people ever cope in the old days? No wonder people never used to move from the villages they grew up in. There must have been swarms of people milling around looking a bit confused and asking for directions to the pig market.
I went out to see friends in the afternoon and was early, because they had all told the host they would be half an hour late via WhatsApp, and I turned up on time (I’m always on time) It was nice to be in a group situation and feel fully involved. I’m quite self-conscious and I often use looking at my phone as a way to switch off and recalibrate myself, but I realise a lot of people would think I was rude and it was good for me to be exposed for a while. Everyone was very interested in my Punkt phone – it was very retro! Still, it does exactly what it says on the tin – phonecalls and texts, simple.
By Saturday night though, I was ready to crack. I missed chatting to my blogging girls on twitter, and the buzz of my friend’s WhatsApp group – that was the the thing I missed the most, the communication. I felt shut off and like I was missing out. I think the social media era has wrapped us all in a bubble of constant chat – but it’s not the same as real interaction with people.
I think I will do this more often though – switch off the social media at least, it was good to feel unencumbered from the phone. My very favourite moment was on Friday (before the mopping) when I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to read a chapter of my book. No noise, no distractions. It was blissful. I’d forgotten the very specific pleasure of doing something I enjoy without interruption – and the silliest thing is, that it’s always me interrupting myself to look at my stupid phone!
I’m certainly looking forward to a tech-free Christmas. #PresenceNotPresents.