I heard an interesting interview on my local CBC Saturday morning show* recently.
The interviewee was a news anchor who had decided not to be plugged in and available 24/7, but rather to limit his smart phone and other device use to 16/6.
Yes, he decided to not be connected to the internet, phone and so on for at least 8 hours a day and one whole day a week. He found it difficult, especially given that his job requires him to be on top of what’s happening in the world.
Here are some of the tips I gleaned from the interview:
- Put your smart phone charger somewhere other than your bedroom. This removes the temptation to check it in bed.
- Make house rules about smart phone and other device usage at meals. He had a “no devices at meals” rule. (I was reminded of the rules in my house when growing up: you can read the newspaper at the breakfast table, but no reading at the dinner table.)
- Give yourself time to wind down.
- Plan for your day off: make sure you have the directions, phone numbers, etc that you need.
- Tell people what you are doing so they know they can’t contact you in the usual ways during those times.
Some things he noticed:
- He slept better. Allowing time to wind down before bed meant his mind was not racing.
- There are lots of email messages you can just file — think of the time you’ve spent responding to things you really didn’t need to respond to
- When waiting for a friend, appointment, etc, you can just be present in the moment without distraction. (Though I recommend keeping something to read, a sketchbook, or knitting in your bag for these moments.)
- When you are on vacation you can take even more device free days.
Things I notice about his experiment:
- Reasonable goal: most of the 8 hours is sleeping time; 1 day a week is a stretch but feasible
- Experimental attitude: he tried stuff, tweaked, figured it out as he went along.
The overall idea is that smart phones and devices are an important part of our lives. However, we need to be in control of them not the other way around.
How would a 16/6 week work for you? Are you tempted to try it? How would you modify it to suit your life?
*Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have the whole show available on the website and this particular interview is not featured.
Recategorized Sept 21, 2015.