This spring was the 4th annual National Day of Unplugging, a Friday when people pledged to spend 24 hours "unplugged" from their devices--cell phones, tablets, and computers alike. The idea was to "detox" from technology and take time to enjoy people, nature, and quiet. People offered their personal reasons for unplugging on nationaldayofunplugging.com, answering the statement "I unplug to..." Pledgers' reasons ranged from unplugging to get back to the basics, to get outside, to read, to think outside the box, to relax, to just be, and hundreds more. Did you try unplugging? What would your reasons to unplug be? How would you spend your day?
The task may seem daunting at first, but a little planning can make it much easier--and even fun! Gemini Adams, author of “The Facebook Diet” (coming out April 2013) recently discussed strategies with The Huffington Post:
Choose your favorite form of communication and stick to it. “There are so many forms of communication available to us that there is a lot of miscommunication going on -- some people prefer to use email while others want to use Facebook,” Adams says. These numerous platforms can get confusing and can turn what is supposed to be faster forms of getting in touch into inefficient ones (how many times have you forgotten to respond to a Facebook message?). Consider drafting up a statement in your outbound email that clarifies how you like to be in touch -- you can even include the times you plan to be off the grid. “We’re not supposed to be available 24/7, so it’s OK to say that you’re not.” Being unavailable at times, Adams says, “is an extremely healthy and positive practice."
Design a method to the madness. Keep a log of all the voicemails, emails and messages you receive throughout the day, and plan to respond to them during a designated time you schedule on your calendar. Carving out a specific stretch to respond to these will ensure you’re not being dragged away from the tasks you’re trying to accomplish -- and, without the distraction, “you’ll get those tasks completed in half the time,” Adams says.
Make being present collaborative (and fun). Make a group mini-pledge to stay off your phones -- the time you spend with your friends will really count. Adams suggests phone stacking: Have your pals stack their phones in the middle of the table and enjoy the live conversation, food (of which there will be no Instagramming) and eye contact. First person to reach for the phone picks up the tab."
Any day could be an unplugged one! Think you'll give it a try? If a whole day seems daunting, try making it through a meal without checking your phone, run your errands while you leave it behind at home, or go for a walk without it!