What happened on my 2.5 day ‘Digital Detox’

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Well I surivived! Who knew? My 56 Hour detox became 60 hours… here’s what happened, what I learned and how I’ll use it going forwards;

At 17:00 Friday, the laptop went into my desk drawer and I locked it. It wouldn’t be coming home with me this weekend. I arrived home from work just before 18:00, after posting my goodbyes on my social media sites and turned off my phone and my iPad and put them away. I wouldn’t be switching them on again until Monday morning.

Now I had prepared as best I could; I’d written down my train times for me meeting in the morning as I wouldn’t be able to use the app, and prepared all of the paperwork to attempt the actual meeting without the use of a device. I’d also printed directions to our hotel in the Brecon Beacons for Saturday night as we usually use our phones for sat nav and the boyfriend was joining me on my crazy endeavour to go 56 hours ‘off line’. Not that this kind of thing is difficult for him, he was quite amused at the whole idea of me going cold turkey and looking forward to seeing how I’d cope.

Friday evening was an odd one; I read my book for half an hour before feeling overwhelmingly sleepy, so I had a half an hour nap. When I woke I did a little yoga (a mix up of whatever I felt like doing as I’d usually follow a video online), then chose a different book. I found it difficult to entertain myself while home alone. But in any event, it was a peaceful evening and I climbed into bed at 10pm and drifted off to sleep. I’d get up when Craig got in from his night shift to avoid the need for an alarm after deciding that flight mode alone would be too much of a temptation for me!

Saturday morning arrived after a very restful night. It was 7am when I got up, and I actually woke up naturally at 6am but stayed in bed a little longer until Craig got home.

I’d usually have spent half an hour lay in bed with phone in hand checking Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and respond to a few emails but instead I made a cup of tea and stood by the window. The TV was also out of bounds so I got on my mat and did a lovely gentle home practice instead, something I’d usually ‘not have time’ for.

I then went into town using my train times I’d scribbled in my Filofax and managed to have my meeting without a computer! We went through my list of points and agreed/disagreed on a few things and I headed home, had some lunch then we hit the road for the Brecon Beacons. So far so good, although I did find myself at various times wondering what to do with my hands.

I don’t usually use my phone too much in the car as I feel bad enough for the naps I take while Craig is driving so it wasn’t all that bad on the four hours it took to get to South Wales. We found the hotel without a problem (although calling it a hotel was a stretch of the imagination – but we aren’t dwelling on that!) and got a few hours sleeps before spending the day training with Meningitis Now for their Three Peaks Challenge. I got to spend the day in the mountains with a great group of people and didn’t feel the need to take a photo to share with Instagram either; that day out was mine.

Another four hour drive home took us to 10pm and we were exhausted and a little sunburned after 8 hours hiking so we fully intended to head straight to bed. I got my phone out of the cupboard and switched it on, but then straight to flight mode so that I didn’t get any notifications and set my alarm for the morning… almost done!

I woke up naturally around 5am, but didn’t check my phone straight away, instead I took it to a full two and a half days and decided to savour the peaceful hour snoozing and waited until 6am – 60 hours off line complete!

Lots of emails and notifications later and I realised I hadn’t missed a single thing of any importance. Except maybe the fact that my boss got stuck in Chicago when his flight was cancelled – oops! Perhaps I’ll just delete the social media apps next time…

Things I learned

  1. I actually have much more time on my hands while my phone is not in them! I was able to spend that half an hour in bed, or on the sofa in the evening or waiting for the kettle to boil that I would usually spend scrolling, doing something productive.
  2. I missed Spotify. It’s the only thing I did I think, the radio is terribly repetitive!
  3. I don’t need an alarm. I woke up naturally around 5.30am every day without my phone, I put this down to having more restful nights sleeping. Additionally, Sunday night was restless, was this due to my phone being back in the room, next the bed?
  4. I can still write. With an hour to spare on Saturday morning before the meeting, I went to Costa and sat and wrote four A4 pages of my book (front & back!) with an actual pen! It drew a few interested looks.
  5. Social Media Double Chin! It’s a thing! Ever accidentally put your front facing camera on while looking at your phone and getting a bit of a shock? Well I hate to break it to you but that’s what you look like while browsing… and I saw A LOT of it around this weekend; not a good look guys!

I also want to point out something I witnessed while doing this experiment; a woman was on the train with her son, approximately 7 years old. He had two matchbox trucks and was playing with them on the table and asking her questions and getting excited about their day out. The whole time she sat on her phone, ignoring him except for the odd ‘shush’ or ‘sit down’, all while not looking up from her phone. It made me very sad to witness.

How I’ll use this going forwards

I’m going to do this once a month after discovering that the world won’t end if I don’t update the internet with my every move.

I’ll also apply a couple of the basic principles at home, such as buying an old school alarm clock and having no phones in the bedroom!

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