Last night, I did not do a digital or screen detox. “Hocus Pocus” was trending on Twitter for a while yesterday. As I had nothing on my calendar last night and planned to paint my nails anyway, how I was going to spend my evening seemed predestined.
In a general sense, though, attempting a screen detox when I work in tech and am a blogger is a challenge. It’s a challenge, but it’s one I am meeting, and with good result.
For the past few days, I’ve been experimenting with using screens less.
In the morning, I have started leaving my phone in my bedroom while I have coffee and breakfast.
While I’m getting dressed, I do turn on the podcasts I listen to every day. But I don’t look at my phone and get distracted by various things while trying to get ready. I hit the “play” button and I don’t pick up my phone again until it’s time to leave the house.
As a result, I seem to be getting out the door and to work on time. Shocking.
During the workday, I’m making a point to leave my phone on silent and position it off to the side, out of my direct line of sight. I keep an eye on it just in case someone sends me a text, but that’s fairly unusual during work hours.
I’m also trying hard to use social media less. Typically, I’ll glance at it during work. Now, I’m making an effort to only peek at it for a couple of minutes when I first get to the office and while I heat up and eat my lunch.
When I get home, I’m experimenting with leaving my phone in the bedroom rather than carrying it around with me. I don’t want it to be constantly available. I look at it when I happen to wander into the bedroom just to make sure nobody is trying to reach me, but otherwise, I leave it alone.
The big change for me is trying to watch less TV. I love TV. But I’m giving this “no screens” thing a shot, and that means less TV. I might allow myself some catch-up time this weekend with the few current shows I keep up with, but watching older shows is off the list for now. There’s no need for me to sit and watch TV for hours a day as I often tend to.
However, there are many ways in which screen usage is rather unavoidable. There is my work, after all, which is 100% done on screens. There is blogging, which I have no intent to give up.
And then there are all the little ways in which I didn’t realize how heavily reliant on screens I was. Most of them have to do with food. Grocery lists, recipes, meal tracking, weight tracking… all of it is done on screens.
So be it. Screens have their purpose and I’m trying hard to only use them for such.
I feel like my head is getting clearer. The irritating way it bounces between thoughts and refuses to latch on to anything, causing me constant anxiety, seems to be lessening as I detach more from the screens in my life.
For many months, I’ve been finding it impossible to read. I can’t get my brain to work the way it used to, where I would fall into words on a page and wind up consumed by a world created by another writer.
This week, I’ve noticed this ability returning. Not only with the book I have out from the library (Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale), but with the research I need to do for various projects at work.
It’s a delight. It’s refreshing. It’s marvelous. And it’s long overdue.
I have wanted to do a screen detox and detach more from the internet in general for a very long time. I still have a ways to go before I’m as disconnected as I would like to be, but I’m taking important first steps and appreciating the results I am seeing thus far.