Friday, June 1, 2012

Unplugged Sundays Experiment Results

After making it through all five scheduled unplugged Sundays I can safely say that, while it was a worthwhile experiment, being completely unplugged is not that relaxing to me personally. Still, I only broke the unplugged rule once in five weeks (and it saved me about six hours so I'm not all that sad I did it, though I would have liked to say I stuck with it 100%) and I did learn a lot. Here are my good, bad (aka challenging) and moving forward thoughts and experiences.

The Good & Great
  • I learned that my husband really loves me not having the laptop on while we're watching tv together in the evening. He wants me to focus on whatever we're watching instead of dividing my attention between the two activities.
  • I also learned that he doesn't like having the mouse in between us and he will sit closer to me and snuggle (yippee!) if I don't have the laptop on when we're sitting on the couch together.
  • I read a much larger than normal number of books, finished knitting a scarf I'd been working on since January and had some great conversations with loved ones.
  • I think I slept better. This isn't scientific... but I woke up feeling more refreshed than usual on the Monday mornings following my unplugged Sunday experiments.
  • I lost three pounds! This probably has more to do with my diet and exercise habits but it occurred during the experiment so I figured I'd include it here. I'm now at my lowest weight in about nine years (praise God!).
The Challenging
  • I knew I used the computer a lot but I didn't realize how hard it would be to not have access to my internet based prayer lists, calendar, contacts list, organizing tools (including the list of books I've read - I admit I broke the experiment once to check this list but it saved me six hours of reading because, yes, I had already read the book in question), weather forecasts, knitting pattern bank... you get the idea. I like electrons a whole lot more than paper.
  • It was incredibly hard to stay offline from bedtime Saturday night until Monday morning. I actually contemplated staying up until midnight one Sunday so I could "check" on things. Like Facebook or email could be that important? It was like the internet had some kind of hypnotic spell over me that made me think about it way more than is healthy. I think I was an internet addict. Maybe I still am. But at least now I know and I can work on it.  
  • Being unplugged on Sundays made for more work on Saturdays. 1) I had to actually print out my prayer lists and any directions or organizational materials I might need for Sunday on Saturday night. 2) I like to wish all my Facebook friends happy birthday so instead of being able to do so on Sunday I had to make a list of the folks who had Sunday birthdays, set a reminder on Saturday night, and do the posts Saturday night.
  • I woke up to over a hundred emails on Monday morning (and that's just my personal account). I like to keep my inbox empty (or at least nearly empty) so 100+ seemed like a lot of work to deal with. Granted, it's nothing like the 30,000+ I once had but I never want to go there again.
Moving Forward
  • In order to spend less time on the laptop in the evening (honoring my husband by not having it on when we're relaxing together on the sofa), I deleted some of my Facebook apps. These were mostly games that either I played less for my own enjoyment than to help my friends who play the game or were kind of annoying me with all the pop ups. I still have my favorite five games but five is much better than ten.
  • I'll probably do a more practical, modified version of unplugged Sundays. I still want my Sundays to be devoted to worship, rest and family, but I don't think there's a problem with going online to check the weather or look up a knitting pattern.
  • Unless I'm on medical bed rest (in which case the internet is a true blessing) I am aiming to reduce my overall screen time, a little at a time, until I get it where I think it's more reasonable.
Thank you for sharing my unplugged Sundays experiment/journey! May God bless you!

Have you done a technology fast? How did it go for you if you did?

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