Friday, April 27, 2012

Digital Fasting-Making Small Changes

I don't know about you, but sometimes it seems that I spend large part of my day connected to technology. I check email. I do online banking. I look for deals and discounts from various sources, I read the news, I read blogs. Frankly, it can be incredibly easy to spend a day in front of the computer, or attached to the Ipad.

Don't get me wrong, I find the Internet and the accompanying modes of technology both interesting and intriguing. I enjoy surfing and exploring online as much as the next retiree. When I think about the things we could do now that even ten years ago were not thought of I am often astounded. That said, technology is always with us, and I personally find it more threatening to my time and energy than television-even cable. With television, I only view in the evening, and generally when my body clock is at it's lowest. In other words,  much of the time I would not be doing anything else.

So...................I've been looking for small ways to "unplug" if you will. I don't want to give up my laptop or smart phone, but I want to be the one in control. To that end, I've been making a couple small changes as well as a rather larger one.

I used to take my laptop into the living room while watching TV, or into the bedroom and play for awhile before bed. Now I do neither. If the show is one that allows me to do something else at the same time (I'm a sports addict, so it happens), I write (longhand) I knit, or I just relax and visit with friends and family when they are around.

I followed the advice given by an organizational author I read some time ago (trust me, none of the other organizational skills took).  I discovered that by following her advise to "never check email in the morning", my day started out much better and I got much more accomplished (even if it was that sitting on the patio and watching the dogs).  Once I would have grabbed my beverage and headed to the desk to read email and check news.  Now I take my coffee on the patio for a better way to wake up in the morning. I start slowly, moving at the mood strikes. Today I picked up the house, set everything out for an art project for school, sewed a bit, watered all the plants and took a walk. Then I grabbed my lunch and headed for the ole email and blog reading. This has been a huge difference. Part of the reason this works well for me is that my afternoon is more structured. I have natural breaks such as feeding the dogs, getting things out for dinner-in other words I am forced to walk away from the desk. I also have a natural finish time.Equally importantly, I find that I have missed little by this change in schedule.  Really, there is nothing that I need to read or see at 8 or 9 am that I cannot see at 2 PM.

Finally, I'm giving up my technology (and my phone calls) for a single day a week. On Sunday I ignore the computer and all phone calls not from immediate family. The only time I get on the computer is if we have agreed in advance to Skype at a certain time-other than that I'm completely unplugged.

I have no idea what will happen in the future. All I know is for now, for me, this backing off, this become less plugged, well, it's working just ine.


  1. Good for you! I totally agree... I've been setting limits on my own "Internet" time as well... I get much more done when I set my time, then put my iPad AWAY. lol!

  2. I feel like you do which is why I got rid of my smartphone. I am on my computer about four to six hours a day anyway and it just felt wrong to be online 24/7 (I even noticed myself going out to lunch of dinner with the hubby and all of my attention being focused on my phone like so many other people in the restaurant...that was just wrong, that was the last straw). I can't really part with my computer though so the phone was the only concession I can make!

  3. So right you are!! I give myself a 1/2 hour in the morning to catch up on some blogs then the PC is off until I relax in the evening. I might jump on at lunch for a break but thats it. As for the phone I have been shuting it off after 9:00AM during the week. Stupid phone was ringing off the wall all day long with political crap and charities. I have our grands during the week I don't need to keep jumping up and down for that sillyness when the little ones are around. Unplugging can be a great thing!!

  4. You have given us some really good ideas in this post.


  5. Barb, I completely concur with your assessment of the "creepage" of technology into our lives and how the impact can be negative if it gets out of hand.

    I've made a concerted effort to spend less time online and more time engaging with life. Similar to what folk often say about work, at the end of the day I never regret the time I didn't spend online or watching TV.

  6. We are on the same "electronic page!" I decided two weeks ago that Sunday would be a "Tweet-free day." I don't post or read anything on Twitter. That saves 30 minutes for something else.

    I only check e-mail 3 times a day (morning, noon, after dinner) instead of checking compulsively like I did when I first bought a smart phone. With close to 100 new ones a day I can't be quite as restrictive as I'd like, but most can be quickly deleted.

  7. I am so glad I checked your blog today. I have been thinking along these lines for several months now. I am in Bible College and so I spend a lot of time online listening to the lectures and checking out the blog for students. I also have my morning coffee/technology routine which has started lingering to lunch. So I have thought I must pull back and get off the computer and the tablet. I have not allowed my phone to become part of the online craze so far and don't plan to ever let it. I kept telling myself I have to read the bible (on biblegateway) but really I have a hard copy or two or six around the house so I can do that off line. I have been planning a full day off and modifying the days I am on. This post has caused me to think for sure I must do this. Otherwise I might waste the summer break sitting in my computer chair. Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. And I remember when we though TV was bad, right? Little did we know TV was the least of our problems.


Living With One Car in Retirement-Or Any Time

From 1987 until 1996, my husband and I were a one car family-with one and then two children. In 1997, we inherited a second car. Which ...