I wouldn’t say I’m stuck to my phone or that I’m always online. But still I did spend a lot of time on the interwebs. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and a lot of Netflix.
That’s why I wanted to see how I would handle being offline for a week. I didn’t go off all the way. I allowed myself to still use my email, because of my upcoming study abroad and some stuff I’m trying to sell online.
But besides that, no social media, no binge watching on Netflix. And this is how it went.
This first day went pretty fine. Right after I published last weeks blog post, I announced my upcoming ‘absence’ on Facebook, Twitter and to the people I talk to most. After that I turned off all notification. Or better said, as much as I could. WhatsApp seems to be very persistent, even when you turn all your notifications silent it still pops up when someone sends a message and adds a number to the icon on your start screen… Very seductive. But I found a way to handle that: I moved the app to a screen I didn’t use that often. J
During work everything went fine (during the summer I work fulltime at a hospital laboratory), but when I got back home and sat down with my dinner… All alone… No Netflix to accompany me… That’s when it kicked in: I really do spend a lot of time online. At first I felt awkward, but I just looked outside at a tree in front of my window. How the wind played with it and a little bird hopping on it’s branches.
Only one day into the challenge and I cheated… This day I bought a new laptop and I have to admit that I did visit some websites and such to download programs I needed.
What I also noticed today is that having internet and such is pretty darn usefull. I really missed checking my weather apps, now I had to look outside and hope it wouldn’t go raining when I was going for groceries. Or am I too Dutch, since I want to keep updated about the weather all the time?
Saturday & Sunday
And then there was the weekend. I only had one teatime meeting with a friend on Sunday, but for the rest it was all the time of the world.
I did have a little to-do list in mind of things I wanted to get done. Usually in the weekends, I would start my day with some social media and probably watch an episode of this or that on Netflix. And you can guess, there’s always another episode. Usually it would be far past noon when I would start on my to-do list. But surprisingly, without being present online, I first do some tasks on my to-do list while listening to some cd’s (yes, no Spotify too). Then somewhere half way I take some tea and sit down to read a bit. A little while later I would finish my tasks and then there was seas of time to enjoy the weekend! I took a book and snuggled away under my crocheted blanket, loved it.
Also I really started to understand how nice it is to have no bleeps and pings coming your way. Usually I do manage to let that be for a bit, but at the end of a page or chapter I still check my phone to see what is happening in the world.
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
And after the weekend it’s time for work again. During work there’s no time to be tempted to go online, only during the breaks when there’s moments that everyone is checking their Facebook and other stuff. That’s when I look around through the canteen and observe people, very funny to see how different people spend their lunchtime.
In the evenings I finally took time to start on a photo/scrapbook album about the two trips I took to London last year and the year before. Like I said before: to-do lists get smaller and smaller.
But on Wednesday evening I couldn’t wait anymore. I just had to watch the 3 vlogs my favourite blogger had shared online last weekend. I cheated, once again…
So, in the end…
I experienced the joy of silence. Of no-one taking your attention unless you let them. Of having time to read magazines that had been lying around for ages and books that you borrowed from your sister a long time ago. And in the meanwhile I got much more done than ever before.
But, let’s be honest. Having access to the internet is something we can’t live without anymore. Like I said: checking the weather, but also googling something you want to know about or searching for a knitting pattern.
What I’ve learned is that being online is an OK thing, but it’s also OK to turn off your notifications. To look at Facebook and such when you want to, and not when a pling tells you you’re missing something. So I think I’ll keep most notifications off. And that maybe a few evenings and/or one day a week I won’t access internet for social media and Netflix, in order to be more productive and enjoy time spent in a book or whatever else I’d like to do.
What about you? Have you ever spent some time offline? What was it like for you?
Or would you consider doing this for a week?
Let me know in the comments.