In mid-April I suddenly realized I was spending way more time online and significant less time offline than I would have liked. So, I set about giving myself some structured time offline. I have now had 3 sets of days offline starting Saturday April 21st @ 5pm until Noon on Monday, April 23rd, followed by Friday, April 27th @ 5pm till Sunday, April 29th @ 5pm and then again this past weekend, starting at 8pm on Friday, May 4th and returning @ 9am on Sunday, May 6th. So, that amounts to 3 full calendar days, 1 partial (more than half) calendar day and over 125 hours. Nice!
The whole concept behind this was to re-focus on one of my goals of getting together with family and friends more often this year. Yes, it is taking a bit of extra work as some people are harder to schedule time with than others, however, my efforts are proving fruitful. Some of the things I did included volunteering at the Braintree Community Youth Center, participating in Beautify Braintree Day, attending a friend’s 30th birthday party, going out to eat with friends and spending a nice afternoon sightseeing in Sandwich, attending an open house with friends, going for a walk, cleaning my condo, celebrating my grandfather’s birthday, talking on the phone with some friends, meeting new friends, going to Bentley, and more! It is amazing how much more energetic I feel after spending quality face time with family and friends rather than staring at the computer screen longer than I should.
You can do it, too. Yes, you really can unplug for a day. Since it is difficult for many people to unplug during the workweek (especially during the workday) I suggest starting with a weekend day. If the day you are least likely to be online is Saturday then start with that day. Instead of reaching for the power button reach for your phone and call a friend. Alternatively, make plans in advance that will keep you away from the computer and possibly even out of the house for most of the day which will help you avoid temptation. Find an event taking place locally that you would like to attend and go do it. Meet your neighbors, knock on your neighbor’s door and say hello, just do something – anything, really – to stay off the computer and interact with people in-person, face-to-face, rather than screen to screen. Promise to use your cell phone as just that – a phone, not to check your emails or post your status on Facebook or text message. Yes, use the phone the old-fashioned way: to make plans and connect with others.
You never know what great things or people you may discover or enjoy until you disconnect to reconnect offline.