I want to start this by specifying that I love technology. I am a person who is almost constantly connected, using my UP band to track my daily stats and keep a regular log of my emotions, always buried in my iPhone, iPad or Mac.
You know what? I am not going to change that. I like it. I enjoy technology, and I enjoy using it. I think the abilities that these devices give me are amazing, and I think that the experiences they can provide are truly incredible.
Over the past few months, I have been trying rather irregularly to set aside a few days to enjoy zero screen time. When I say enjoy, I really mean struggle painfully through, of course. The reasons are pretty simple. Every now and then I get caught up in routines, where I open apps and I do the same little things on them over and over again, and sometimes the information that I am opening myself to won’t even sink in.
Ever found yourself checking the time on your phone only to have no idea what it was just a few minutes later? Yeah. I’m talking about that. I can’t explain how it happens. Maybe we just become totally desensitised to how incredible this technology, these screens really are. We just fall into a rut and our thought patterns become too predictable and start to feel almost pointless.
On my zero screen time days, I keep everything turned off. I read a few books, draw some artwork by hand and go for walks. I write in my journals and I play guitar. These are rarely productive days.
I am convinced that sooner or later, I will end up busting out the action figures and playing old classic games such as Gandalf vs. Darth Vader vs. He-Man.
These zero screen time days become partly a break from technology, but partly an excuse to rediscover ways of enjoying myself and passing the time that I have forgotten about over the years.
What are the effects and benefits of switching everything off for 24 hours? I feel relaxed. Relaxed and energised and ready for new challenges. My brain feels like it could take on any problem (which it can’t because math always defeats me.)
I would never advocate becoming a Luddite and rejecting technology. Hell, when I wake up the day after a zero screen time break, I can’t wait to reach for my phone and catch up on everything that’s happened while I’ve been offline.
It feels like Christmas morning used to, before I discovered the Santa Scam.
Here’s my advice to you. Just once a month, set aside a Saturday or Sunday to turn off your devices and hit zero screen time. You don’t even have to enjoy it as much as I do. You can hate it all you want. But try it. You won’t regret it.