BLOG: No-tech cold turkey — surprisingly enjoyable
Over the past weekend, various members of the Tire Business staff challenged themselves to turn off their cell phones and other technological devices that deliver communication and entertainment. We constantly hear that, in today's day-and-age, we are addicted to this type of technology. Did this ring true for our staffers? Over the next few days, we will be posting first-hand accounts of the experiences participants had during this “no-tech” challenge.
AKRON — The first step is admitting you have a problem.
If I woke up every morning and took a drink of whiskey, or reached immediately for a beer, people would tell me I have a problem. Luckily, I'm only a social drinker, and typically in moderation. But I do reach immediately for my phone. I'll check social media, the scores of whatever game I haphazardly fell asleep to, email and text messages. It's all in my morning routine.
But this weekend several Tire Business staff members and I gave up any sort of technology used to entertain — specifically cell phones, computers, televisions, GPS — all for the purpose of this blog.
As an online manager, I have responsibilities on the evenings and weekends to make sure things are working appropriately on the Tire Business website and are mailed out on schedule. I like to check and double check, and that usually means being plugged in, charged and only being feet away from a computer. I also love to use my cell phone to settle debates, catch up on scores — and I have to admit I'm a celebrity news junkie. And as the mother of two small children, I'll let them watch TV in the mornings and in the evenings as I'm trying to get things ready for the day or the next day.
By committing to a weekend of no technology, I set out to find out if I was a technology junkie, or whether I could kiss it goodbye and not think twice. I learned a lot about myself in the process.
I hear often about how Millennials are always attached to their cell phones and how dependent on them this generation is. We at Tire Business set out to test the theory and to see how different generations fared when you took away their technology during a “no-tech weekend.”
I expected a bumpy weekend with a lot of challenges, but what I found was that setting down my phone, keeping my laptop closed and silencing the TV left a lot of time for other things I hadn't enjoyed in far too long a time.
I started my challenge at sundown Friday night and ended it Sunday night at sundown.
I took my husband out on a date and told the babysitter to call him and only him if she needed us. I rarely relinquish control over the well-being of the kids, so that was great. Getting to the restaurant was fun. I couldn't use my phone or GPS for navigation, so I had to go by memory and by taking directions from my spouse.
We even had to chat a bit about the day we had and its highs and lows while waiting for our reservation. That was time and space that typically would have been filled with checking emails on my phone and him checking the score of the Cavaliers game.
But we both carried on a conversation with few lulls and some fun banter.
I went to sleep at a decent hour instead of working on my laptop in bed for a few hours as I typically do in the evening hours.
When I went to sleep Friday night, I didn't feel overstimulated or bored. I felt relaxed. I don't take enough enjoyment out of that sensation. But the sleep was great.
Saturday was a full day of yard work, and I enjoyed playing with the kids outside and taking them to the park. In the evening, I refused to let them turn the TV on, so we played board games instead and talked. After the kids went to sleep, we enjoyed some time outside just chatting and enjoying the breeze as the heat from the day started to ease.
My husband kept saying that I seemed so relaxed and calm because of the no-tech weekend, and that he really like the effect unplugging had. This was the first of many comments he made about the positive effect of the experiment.
Sunday was Mother's Day, and I had to call my mom. I made sure not to check anything or do anything other than make the phone call. But I had no choice. I tried telling mom about my dedication to the no-tech rule, but she wasn't having any of it.
As the weekend came to a close, I realized how much time I got back because of the experiment. Honestly, I was a little embarrassed that my children and husband were all so impressed with my no-tech weekend and the time it freed up that became dedicated to them. I had never considered how the minutes add up that I spend with my phone or laptop during the weekends or in the evenings.
And I realized that filling the quiet space with technology was something I'd become entirely too comfortable doing. I also realized I'm a genuinely happier person who is less stressed and more rested when I walk away from technology.
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Tire Business would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor Don Detore at [email protected].