Technology surrounds us every single day and as a blogger, one of the most important things is being “connected” Whether that’s through social media, the blog or checking your emails. Being online and is a way of life.
So when I was challenged by Punkt and Time to Log Off to attempt a 48 hour Digital Detox for the “Your Presence Is The Present” campaign I was horrified. How on earth would I be able to do this? The campaign is about giving your family the “gift” of your undivided attention over the Christmas period and this is what made me decide to give it a go.
As a designer in my day job and a blogger by night, I am constantly in front of a computer, laptop or phone. If I’m not working, I’m writing blog posts, editing photos, checking emails or catching up with friends on Whatsapp and deep down inside I know I spend far too much time online. There is no balance.
When I told Mr H of my plans to switch off he just laughed at me – not the reaction I was hoping for! The plan was to switch off all digital devices on the 25-26 November as a practice run for Christmas. I was sent an old school style phone from Punkt which only enabled me to make calls and text messages with no access to the internet as well as a challenge pack .
It all sounded very simple in principle but it was actually making me feel quite nervous. For starters, I failed to start the detox on the 25th because I had too many deadlines to meet that day. Instead, I started on the 26th and swapped my sim from my iPhone into the Punkt phone that morning. It was then I realised that I’d forgotten to actually tell people who were likely to contact me what I was doing. I text my sister to tell her to text and not WhatsApp me. Her response “Why what have you done?” This was going to be a long day….
Not being in front of a laptop or tablet wasn’t too much of a problem as I tend not to use these much at the weekend anyway. My iPhone though? It’s like an extension of me, it’s never too far from reach for me to check what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter or get my daily Instagram fix. It’s used as my alarm in the mornings, is also my diary and my to-do lists are on there so how would I cope without it?
I made sure I kept myself busy.
Ironically, Mr H had to work that weekend so he was in front of his computer screen for most of Saturday. I’d been meaning to sort through the boy’s clothes for ages – they have grown out of loads that needed bagging up ready for the charity shop as well as a few bits of Summer clothing that needed to be packed away for next year so I finally made the time to go through this. I then spent a couple of hours crafting and making bits and bobs with the boys. I did a bit of baking, the laundry and tidied the house. I spent the rest of the day chilling out with my boys and really focused on them.
It was a struggle to not reach for my iPhone and check what I might be missing out on and I did feel really lost without it. Having the Punkt phone helped as I could at least send texts but I had forgotten how long writing text messages old school style takes.
The boys were also fascinated by my new retro phone and noted that it was “like nanny’s” which made me laugh. Without the draw of social media I was able to make a start on writing my Christmas cards and although I couldn’t write a blog post on the laptop, I went back to pen and paper and actually wrote a post by hand. Surprisingly, it took me hardly any time to write at all. I had no notifications to distract me from what I was doing or the ping of an email or Whatsapp to divert my attention.
So, although I struggled with this challenge I did learn a lot from it. I learnt that nothing drastic is actually going to happen if I don’t have my phone on me 24/7 and although I only managed a 24 hour detox at least it’s a start. I’m now a lot more conscious of the time I spend online and question myself whether I really need to reach out and check Facebook or Instagram right that very second.
Ultimately, my boys mean the world to me and they are growing up so quickly. I know I need to be present for them whenever they need me and not dismiss them because I am too busy on my phone. This detox has made me realise that I need to take a step back and go back to basics.
I will most definitely be logging off for a bit this Christmas because spending time with family over the festive season is what it’s all about isn’t it?
Have you ever attempted a digital detox before? How did you find it?
*I was sent a Punkt phone and a challenge pack in exchange for this post