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 — I had mixed feelings about taking a “no-tech weekend” — a challenge inspired by the Tire Business online team.
When you're wired in like we all are today, the thought of not being able to look at your cell phone for an entire weekend, or watch TV, or use your computer or listen to the radio, is a bit daunting.
What if the boss sent an urgent email? What if there was a family emergency? What if my wife or daughter needed to reach me? What if a huge news story broke in the tire or rubber industry? What if? What if? What if? I had plenty of excuses for not wanting to participate in this experiment.
But I also wanted to support the team and decided that was more important than the possibility I might miss a few TV programs, a breaking news story or a couple of emails. So I took up the challenge and here's what happened.
I relaxed — really relaxed.
It turned out unplugging wasn't difficult at all, or scary. I didn't miss anything.
I confess, I didn't go off-line completely. I watched the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Chicago Bulls in the NBA playoffs. Couldn't miss that.
I answered my cell phone twice, once when my daughter called and once when the car dealership phoned to tell me work had been completed on my car.
I checked my cell phone, too, but only once, finding a text from a co-worker informing me that his wife had gone into labor. And I accidently turned on the television and car radio, each one time out of habit, quickly switching them off after realizing the error.
But even with these momentary lapses, I pretty much unplugged for the weekend.
What I discovered is how much time all these electronic devices command and how much stress they add to the day.
The weekend seemed noticeably longer and more enjoyable without them.
Not having the opportunity to use and check any electronic devices opened up time to sit and talk with my wife and daughter, to work in the yard, to take the dog on longer walks, to clean up my home office.
On Saturday evening, we visited friends.
Upon returning home, instead of turning on the TV to watch “Saturday Night Live,” I just went to bed and had a great night's sleep.
What's the takeaway? I think we are blessed to live in an age where we have such an amazing array of technology at our disposal. It has made communicating with each other easy and brought books, music, news, movies, data, technology and information to the palm of our hands.
But like anything else, this technology needs to be used in moderation or it will consume more and more of our time leaving fewer hours to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of life.
Reluctantly unplugging for a couple of days reminded me of that.