Last week I took a long weekend off to go out to the Finger Lakes for my sister-in-law’s wedding. With our new vacation email policy in place my business partner was covering my inbox for me, and everything else important was being covered by someone, so I wasn’t planning on working. When I got to the house we were renting, there wasn’t any internet, the satellite TV had been canceled, and I didn’t have any data coverage with T-Mobile. I wasn’t planning on working, but I sure was planning on watching football, updating my fantasy team, and, you know, keeping up with the world in general. I didn’t plan for a five day break from all electronics!
A few observations from my unexpected electronics fast:
- The first thing I noticed was how often I reached for my phone. By habit, almost any time there was a break, I’d reach for my phone and then…check the time since I couldn’t do anything else.
- Seriously, we’re so spoiled. Without internet, my phone still has a very good camera, music, the Kindle app with dozens of books, emulators with hundreds of retro NES, SNES, Genesis, & N64 games, and a few movies. Like 8 years ago that would have been the coolest device in the world. Now I act like it’s bricked and useless without the web.
- I brought some books and magazines. It was pretty nice to spend some extended time away from screens. I was able to really immerse myself without constant interruption (or maybe more appropriately, the possibility of interruption).
- It was hard to wake up, eat breakfast, and not then check email. I’ve done that almost every day since 2006! But I didn’t give in to checking in on work, even when someone offered me access to their Verizon Mifi.
- The business didn’t fall apart. The world didn’t end. It’s OK to take time off, especially now that we have backup people for every critical function.
- My inbox took a while to work through, but it was manageable. I think a good rule is that I’ll need about 1 day to catch up for every week I take off.
- I’m planning some longer trips in 2015. Now that I’ve been cut off like this I’ll probably force myself to completely detach from work on those trips as well, regardless of connectivity.
- I may start taking a day a week off from electronics. Maybe Saturday. Most Saturday’s I try not to do much work, but taking it another step and staying away from my phone would be good too. But, during college football season I will not take any Saturday’s off from TV!