Hello! How are you? I hadn’t planned to be back from my blog break just yet, but I wanted to share some thoughts on a digital detox after our holiday in Greece. There’s already a lot of content out there about turning off your phone, deleting social media apps, turning off sync on your emails etc, but I’ll just share with you a first hand, unexpected, experience of a week with no internet.
Before I left for Greece I’d had a conversation with my sister about turning off Wifi for a week and just having a break. No Facebook, Instagram, emails, just a complete break. We decided in the end that I’d never do it; plus she was going to send me daily pics of Freds and I knew I didn’t want to miss out on them! Then we arrived in Greece; Stu’s phone broke while we were driving to Heathrow (good timing!) and our apartment didn’t have Wifi. Not only that but no other cafes or restaurants to us locally had Wifi. So digital detox it was! If that’d happened a few years ago I think I would’ve freaked out, but this time I just sent an SMS (sorry, what’s that?!) to my sister to let her know and carried on with my holiday. I laugh as I type this that no Wifi is even a thing worth noting. But it’s 2016 and it really is. Thank you smartphones.
With the exception of a small bit of Wifi at the wedding we went to (where I was hardly going to sit on my phone all evening!), I completely switched off. I played cards, listened to podcasts (I’d downloaded them for the flight), read books, swam, sunbathed and spent time with Stu and our friends. To be honest, I didn’t really think about not being able to connect; I didn’t miss it like I thought I would. A couple of my friends had managed to pick up a bit, so they shared any news I needed to know – which was pretty much next to none.
Of course once we arrived at Athens (where I knew there was Wifi) and waited for our connecting flight home, I went online and caught up various apps and messages. I immediately noticed a difference; I went from talking to Stu or reading my book to being so engrossed in my phone I couldn’t tell you who was in front of me or where we were sitting. Since returning home I know I wasted a lot of Friday morning sitting on my phone, and on Friday evening I noticed a huge difference in how much attention I was paying my book. I was so distracted it was ridiculous. In the end my phone went on airplane mode and was put in a draw in my bedside table. I found it generally took longer for me to connect again with what I was reading. It made me angry and frustrated that something that had come so easily to me a few days before was now hard.
The fact is we need the internet for our every day lives; I don’t live on the same street or in the same house as all my loved ones, I like to blog, I have an Etsy shop, online shopping saves me time, my job wouldn’t exist without it … the reasons are endless. While there’s nothing wrong with the internet and of course all the good it’s given us, what bothers me is how much time I’m wasting mindlessly browsing various apps. What I’d really like is some kind of lock on my apps after X amount of time on them – does an app like that exist? That would be amazing. I could limit myself to only X time on any given app in a day and carry on with my life. I know I wouldn’t miss out on anything and ultimately, if there’s something really important I need to know the phone would ring. As sadly it has this year too many times.
There’s no real resolution from this post, but I am now acutely aware of how much of my time is being spent, wasted. And that needs to change. While I’m back from a holiday, feeling refreshed, this is the time to make adjustments to stop it. Any advice, tips, or experiences would be hugely welcomed.
See you soon – I plan to round up the summer months next week with a few pics and stories. Enjoy your bank holiday weekend!