A Week of Disconnect
The truth is that I realised a lot of things this week. The most important being that disconnected from the world is a tough thing to do. I recorded a video for each day that I lived without my phone, I spliced the videos together and realised that the video is over 10 minutes long… That is a long time for me to be rambling on at you about how my week without a phone was. I know I’m a pretty funny guy at times but even 10 minutes is probably too long to hold people’s attention span.
(DROP A COMMENT BELOW IF YOU'D LIKE ME TO UPLOAD THE VIDEO)
To sum up my week:
I meditated 6 out of the 7 days (10 minutes each day.) I read 5 out of 7 days (for no less that 20 minutes each day.) I slept on average 8 hours per night (which is pretty good for me.) I woke up once each night but fell back to sleep easily each time (without reaching for my phone.) I had very strange dreams towards the end of the week (mostly about horses with rabies, I don’t know if horses can get rabies...) I had an overwhelming urge to start smoking again (it started on Tuesday and wore off by Friday afternoon.)
The really good news is that I didn’t start smoking again, the most interesting thing that I realised as the week went on was that I wasn’t feeling as ‘ZEN’ as I thought I would feel. Sure, it was great to have a break from constant blog stats and notifications from different apps on my phone - but the feeling of disconnect was something that I wasn’t quite ready for.
I kept thinking that it would change but the further I got from wanting to have my phone on me, the more I became anxious about important things that I should be sorting out with by using my phone.
Simple situations arose during the week which warranted better planning, but ultimately making arrangements for this website and having to sift through emails at night within my one hour of computer time meant that there was actually too much to process after a long day at work. The more stuff I missed during the day the less I wanted to do in the evenings.
Granted I was doing a week of training in a classroom environment and swimming, which I haven’t done for a while so I really need to factor in the fatigue too. Nevertheless my perspective at the end of the week changed from the idea that phones are a bit of a nuisance to them being essential to a modern existence in a way.
It is really surprising how a few computer chips and a bit of aluminium with glass on the top can have such an impact on the way that we live our lives.
Over the week I realised I use my phone for: Calendars Audiobooks Music Workout Tracking Photography Emails Social Media Calls Shopping And even TV...
The smoking cravings were by far and away the craziest feelings the whole week had to offer. I didn’t realise but back in 2013 when I quit smoking I used some of the money I saved to buy a new phone and a watch. I treated myself for good behaviour. The phone must have some way replaced my smoking habit by keeping my hands busy.
All in all I believe the experience was positive, it helped me realise that sometimes we need to create a little more reality and live a little less through our devices. My limited one hour of computer time meant that I had to find other things to fill my time, I spent it talking to family, reading and spending time with my thoughts.
I didn’t come away from the week feeling like I had just been on a retreat in Tibet for 3 years; in fact I realised halfway through the day on Sunday that I needed to switch the phone back on a little earlier than planned because I had to really get my act together for work this week.
We don’t all have to go to extremes when it comes to changing habits; I tend to go to extremes because when I get an idea in my head i find it very hard to let go of it. That speaks for itself when you look at my weight-loss story (read more here) but changing habits can be a gradual and very enjoyable process.
Whether your goal at the moment is to spend more time with family, lose weight, feel better, get space from technology or slow down to take stock of life then remember that balance is always the thing you should strive for.
I hope that this post has been helpful and I hope that you have a great week ahead!
Remember to Stay Strong and Keep Moving!