A lot of people will recognize this. You wake up on the alarm of your mobile phone, you walk downstairs and while your having breakfast you’re checking your emails on either your phone, iPad or computer.
Then you start checking Facebook and look for other ways to connect online, allowing you to ignore the real life in the present moment.
A lot of hours during the day you will work online in front of a screen. After work you will check your phone again for more emails, texting, news, Facebook, Youtube and other types of entertainment. And in the evening you’ll relax in front of another (TV) screen.
It goes on and on and on and it adds up tremendously. It has become so normal for us, most people don’t even realize the insanity of it anymore. And if they do, they ignore it and tell themselves, “It just the way things are nowadays. It’s progress”.
But is it really? Well, maybe digital progress and efficiency progress to a certain degree. However, there’s also a major decline in our optimal functioning as a human being.
Internet is great if you use it moderately to benefit your superb lifestyle. But many have becomes slaves of social media, news, apps, email, texting, and it effects your behavior and the way you live. Overuse of mobile phones and internet can lead to a poor attention span, impatience, snappiness, anxiety, depression, online addictions, and so on.
You might read these words and think, “I know, I know”. But the symptoms of overuse are often taken lightly and will impact everything in your daily existence. Your way of thinking, your relationships with your partner, your kids, your friends, what you do and especially what you don’t do.
If you’re not convinced, try a complete digital weekend sabbatical and you will be amazed.
DIGITAL SABBATICAL WEEKEND
So, what is a digital sabbatical? It’s being totally unplugged from the internet, your mobile phone, computer, iPad and other online devices for a day, two days, a week or longer. For many it also includes unplugging from the TV.
For me, the feeling of waking up in the morning and just sitting on my couch observing my children, is giving me a major sense of relieve, liberty and a beautiful moment to enjoy just as it is. Really listening and talking to each other without distractions. It just feels like old times, when you were just a kid.
You’ll notice throughout the day how calm, free, careless, and lighthearted you will be. A day without interruptions or anxiety. A day of peace and quiet and non-distraction. A feeling of timelessness.
Okay to be fair, in the beginning you may feel a bit restless or bored. It’s the side effect of your compulsion. Work through this feeling of discomfort and reliance. You may feel you miss out on stuff from the internet, but after a while you’ll notice you’ve missed out on life because of being constantly online. Eventually you’ll feel liberated.
Once you get a real taste of this, you’re hooked. The unplugged weekend lifestyle can feel like a short vacation.
So let’s take a look how to prepare yourself for this, what to do and how you reap the rewards.
Write down why and when you normally should be on the internet. Reasons could be email, blogging, Facebook, listening to music, making payments, digital work, phone calls, etc.
Now work out every step one by one. Deconstruct and find a solution to move the task or project to different days and hours. Also think hard if you can reduce, downsize or eliminate any of the steps you’ve written down.
Make sure you’ve read and replied your most important emails before the weekend starts. Don’t send out emails yourself unless you won’t expect a reply. Setup an automatic email responder that you will be out of office on the weekend and will be back on Monday. Don’t worry about missing a few emails. In order to do enjoy the greater things, you have to let the small bad things happen. You’ll be okay.
If you have a blog, send out blog posts on Thursday or Fridays so you can connect with your readers, answer comments and engage on social media platforms on these particular days and can let things go on Saturday.
Resist the temptation. After the weekend you can catch up. You will discover you didn’t miss out and things can wait. Better yet, you’ve might missed out on a dispute or some negative nonsense that has already been resolved.
*Listening to music
Instead of listening to music on Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music or other online sources, turn on a simple radio, a cd player (if you still have one), play music yourself, or just turn off music for the weekends and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Check all your bills before the weekend starts and make your payments. Set up automatic payments for future weekends. Bills that arrive on the weekend can usually wait another day.
Plan ahead. Schedule your digital work activities outside the weekend. Wake up early so you have some extra time to get everything done. Finish tasks and projects from Monday til Friday. Unplug your router Friday night.
Create a voicemail that says: “This phone is out of order on weekends. You can call me on my home phone. If I’m not at home, call me back later.” Then turn off your phone.
NON DIGITAL ACTIVITIES
Now write down all the things you would like to do that don’t involve a computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone, TV or any other electronic internet device. You need some inspiration?
– Enjoy a conversation with your spouse, partner or friend.
– Talk and play games with your children. Connect.
– Help your children with homework or things that are important to them.
– Read a novel, self help book or magazine.
– Cook a nice and creative dinner for family or friends.
– Go outside, run, go bicycling, do Yoga, workout, exercise.
– Write (plans, ideas, blog posts) on paper.
– Think and re-evaluate how to simplify your life.
– Learn to play an instrument.
– Enjoy gardening.
– Declutter your home. Reduce, downsize and remove stuff.
– Take a long walk in nature. Free your mind and improve your health.
– Take a nice hot shower.
– Visit or invite friends and family.
– Just relax.
– Learn to draw or paint.
– Enjoy a cappuccino or green tea moment.
– Help someone.
After an entire weekend free from the digital world you will notice dramatic changes within yourself. It sounds corny, but you will AWAKE. You will notice that other things will arrive on the surface. You will think different, you will act different, and see things from a new perspective.
Time will slow down, you will have more attention to what is in front of and you’ll be more receptive to what is coming your way. It feels like time is in abundance.
You’ll create room for ideas and insights. You’ll gain real inspiration from life and circumstances that is different from online inspiration. It’s bigger, better, more meaningful and more lasting.
There are many more benefits you will find out for yourself and the positive effects is felt long after the weekend is over.
Welcome to an improved lifestyle.
Get ready for a great weekend!
i was just looking how to make this happen , thank you:)
Klaus Crow says
It’s a way to enjoy the real life. That’s a challenge these days in a world of digital devices and distractions.
Have a great day!
Dr. J says
Thank you for a most enlightening article, full of insight and practical advice. I am considering following your recommendation and planning a digital sabbatical sometime this summer.