Updated: Jul 23, 2019
Let's find out how long you can go without devices!
You know what's really stressful and you don't even notice unless you are paying attention? Being pulled out of the moment.
Switching tasks is very costly to the brain and a lot of energy goes into switching gears between activities. If you get distracted every few minutes, very quickly you will feel exhausted and will be wondering why -- you haven't even started working!
Who or what interrupts? Maybe you have a toddler in mind who doesn't know how to wait for his turn to speak. Or an impolite colleague who barges into your office uninvited. But you know what is much worse? Notifications on your smart phone. Not even the notifications themselves (you could mute them), but your habit and urge to check.
Let me ask you this: how many minutes can you sit still and do nothing without feeling restless and reaching for your phone? If you are using public transport, can you simply sit still and look out of the window? I used to be able to enjoy doing nothing during my commute to work before I bought my first smartphone less then two years ago. Not anymore.
In this article, psychologists give a few tips on how to use social media with minimal detriment for mental health.
So I have decided to conduct an experiment on myself using tip #2 and "detox" for a week. Here is how it is going to go...
I rented a small apartment near one of my favorite places in Northern Zealand, Denmark. Tisvilde is a quaint town near a gorgeous wild beach and ten kilometers of magical forest. They also have great pizza there. I am going to spend a week there with my 3,5 year old daughter and I am only bringing her, my bike, and clothes for us. No computer. No smartphone. No Facebook, Linked In, email, Telegram, none of that for a week. I am also not bringing any toys for her... To be honest, I am a little bit scared to be left alone with my own mind like that, but I am also looking forward to the peace and a week of meaningful parenting. And now that I made this public, there is no going back for me!
I am aware that not everybody will be willing to go without their smartphone for a week, but if you want to join me in this experiment nevertheless, maybe you can try it for one day? Or even one morning?
I will write a full report when we come back. And if anyone decides to join, I will be looking forward to hearing how it went for you!