My Sundays Unplugged experiment began back in February, with the main intention of spending one day a week completely disconnected from the internet.
Here’s how it’s evolved, and what I’m doing currently.
- I close the lid on my MacBook early Friday evening, after having lined up a blog post or two ready for the weekend. I don’t touch it again until Monday evening, some 72 hours later.
- My iPad I haven’t used for weeks, after restoring my MacBook and using that for writing, plus viewing and editing photos. I’m not quite sure what to do with it currently.
- I’m using my Sony Xperia phone for most other quickfire browsing stuff (ie not writing or viewing photos) throughout the week. At the weekend I’m keeping the phone online for simple things like checking the weather maybe once a day in the morning, occasionally looking up directions to places or opening times, and maybe ordering the odd book or toy or household item (eg this weekend a pump to blow up the kids’ paddling pool) on Amazon or Argos.
I also leave the Xperia online so any photos I take with it are automatically uploaded to my Google Photos.
I have now and again been editing and processing photos, just with the phone, when I’ve had time to spare. This method of continually returning to Google Photos and pruning recent photos down to just the very best is working well.
Time online on the phone at the weekend is a matter of minutes.
I continue to use my old iPhone as an iPod, and whilst the music plays via Google Play Music, the stuff I play most I have downloaded on the phone, so it’s not online at all over the weekend.
What I’m not checking at all online from Friday evening to Monday –
- WordPress (comments on 35hunter as well as my Reader showing new posts on other blogs).
- Er, that’s about all I use the internet for these days anyway.
What I’m doing with the extra time I’ve gained from not checking and chasing and reading online –
Spending more time with family.
Most important is the quality of time, because I’m not repeatedly checking my phone or computer the whole weekend. I’ve also noticed my mood has improved for the better, because I’m such a single task person, and trying to do something online and pay attention to the children and/or my wife ends up with me not doing either very well, then getting frustrated with both.
Spending more time with my wife in the evenings.
More specifically, us doing something together, rather than being in the same room but on different devices. She would argue my hands are put to much better use giving her foot massages than bashing a keyboard or swiping a phone.
Reading/browsing photography books.
Something I’ve never really done much before aside from a handful. It’s so different picking up a book of photos and looking at say, six photos over 15 minutes, rather than being online and probably skimming through 600 in the same time frame. This has made me linger more with viewing my own photography too, which I also feel is a benefit when trying to choose only your best work.
Listening to music and doing nothing else.
Most of the time when I have music on, it’s as a background to something else. Yoga, driving, writing. But more recently with more time I’ve gone to bed some nights and just listened to music. Which, like anything you give your full focus too, gives deeper rewards than just being one of a number of simultaneous activities.
Other thoughts about how this experiment has improved my life –
- I like sitting down for a meal without having my phone next to me. The whole week, not just weekends. Plus I feel it’s a good example to the kids.
- As much as I love blogging, I like approaching an evening or two knowing I’m not going to touch my blog or MacBook at all.
- It’s overall slowed me down and detached me from the need to “keep up”. I visit Flickr and Pinterest far less, and can check in with WordPress stuff in probably about an hour in total, maybe less, on a Monday lunchtime at work, plus the evening at home. Disconnecting for that longer period over the weekend has made me feel less of a need to check stuff, even during the week when I do have full access. Not going online for a few hours doesn’t mean the world will end or I’ll miss something incredible.
- I don’t want to be offline entirely all week, and any day of the week it is very useful to have access for things that are so embedded in our lives, like researching places to visit (when they’re open and how to get there), booking cinema tickets, buying stuff online that you can’t just walk into a local shop and get, and so on.
- My photography hasn’t directly dramatically improved, but the most noticeable impact is probably that, like being online, I now don’t feel that every time I go out somewhere I need to have a camera with me ready to take photos. I’ve distilled my photowalks down to fewer, but more immersive and higher quality sessions, which is a mirror of my internet time. Do it less, do it better. Plus as mentioned, I feel I’m editing my photos more slowly, thoroughly and purposefully.
I plan to continue in this same kind of unplugged rhythm for the foreseeable future.
Previously when I was doing just Sundays I thought about having an evening or two off in the middle of the week too. But going Friday evening to Monday evening without my MacBook and still having the phone for tiny occasional online activities maybe a couple of times a day, combined with my recent almost entire withdrawal from social media, feels like a very good balance right now.
Do you have any time unplugged during the week? Are you considering it?
Please share your unplugged thoughts and experience below (and remember to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.