A few weeks ago I was screen-free for a whole week. A more extensive description of my screen-free week is here, but the long and short of it is that I didn’t use my computer or TV for seven days. I did use my phone for calls and about five texts, since it is my only phone, and it is not a smart phone.
At the outset of the screen-free week I said that I would be willing to “cheat” once to watch a movie with my husband. Well, we didn’t even do that. Instead we read books, chatted about life and even played a couple rounds of Bananagrams. I did open up my computer once to do some work with colleagues. However, I only used it for work-related things. I didn’t check my e-mail for facebook at all.
At the outset I expected this week to teach me that I didn’t need to check facebook, or my e-mail, as much as I thought I did. Or maybe it would just challenge me to entertain myself in non-screen ways. Well, it did match those expectations, but I also learned a few other things too:
My house is cleaner when I’m not checking my computer often. When I had a few minutes between kid-needs I found myself putting dishes away or sweeping crumbs off the floor instead of quickly checking my e-mail or the weather. This was actually nice because I wasn’t facing such a daunting cleaning task at the end of the evening, and when the kids needed me again I didn’t feel annoyed that I was being torn away from my computer. They can tear me away from cleaning dishes anytime!
I didn’t feel like hours flew away without me realizing it. I tend to get lost in the world of the internet, but by not getting sucked into in the first place I felt rested and rejuvenated after the kids’ naps instead of wondering where all the time went.
I also realized how much I rely on the internet for information. We needed directions, information about the weather and a couple phone numbers during the week. I had the G-man look them up, but it was a reminder that we live in a culture where lack of internet access means putting more time into finding information than using it.
Overall it was a good week. The first day back I sat down to plow through my e-mails, and I was able to do it in about 30 minutes. A good reminder that I don’t need to spend an hour a day checking e-mail and social media. I’m trying to be better about only using my computer for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at night and 30 minutes in the middle of the day. Some days I’m better about this than others, but it is what I aspire to. I also think I might try and leave Saturdays as screen-free days, especially so I can get a break from the computer when work starts up again. On that note, I’m turning off the computer, going outside, reading my book (btw, I read five books during my screen-free week. Oh the time I had!) and enjoying the rest of kiddo nap-time.