Disconnecting for 24 hours: My National Day of Unplugging


As we told you last week, National  Unplugging Day is an opportunity to disconnect from the digital world around us, a temporary vacation from technology. And at 24 hours of electronic abstinence, it didn’t sound terribly difficult – so I gave it a shot.

Just for a little background, I’d describe myself as an overly-connected person. I tend to digitally multitask between laptop, TV, and iPhone screen, and I’m unfortunately one of those people who prefer constant background noise to silence. My gadget repertoire has grown considerably in the last few years, and I went into the digital dryspell knowing how unpleasant it was going to be. Fortunately for me, the holiday’s founders provided the Ten Principles to keep me from straying to the electronic side.

Avoid technology

Before beginning my fast, I made sure to look up exactly what time sunset was at on Friday. Since it was at 6:44 pm, I realized I would be able to read my Kindle at the gym for at least most of my workout.

After that, however, I had to move to an area where there were no TVs and made sure to secure my powered-down phone and Kindle away from reach. It was pretty depressing, however, that the last TV show I was able to watch was a Piers Morgan interview with Charlie Sheen.

At home, I made sure to unplug my own TV set and conceal my Xbox, laptop, phone, digital cameras, and Kindle from sight. I experienced momentary panic when I thought I’d failed to update my NBA Fantasy team roster. (Don’t worry – I had, and I won my week’s matchup. Crisis averted).

Connect with loved ones

I made sure to schedule some family time this weekend to keep me entertained. Seem like an easy solution? It isn’t. I realized I’m completely dependent on at least four phone and text exchanges to ascertain what time and where I’m meeting anyone. Does asking a third party to phone my parents and ask when to expect them count as breaking the fast? If so…then I did.

And in lieu of being tempted to turn on the TV or see a movie on Friday night, I went mini-golfing. The place was crawling with trendy high schoolers, but there wasn’t a screen in sight – a good safe zone.

Nurture your health

This was easy. I took at least twice as long to prepare my meals and went grocery shopping just for the hell of it. I also went running without listening to music on my iPhone, which made it abundantly easier to not almost get hit by cars in my neighborhood.

Get outside

Seeing as we’re averaging buckets of rainfall in Portland, Oregon, this didn’t improve considerably. Still, I did walk more just to kill time. I also drove a considerable amount. However, seeing as my mode of transportation is a ‘93 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight, it’s only a few notches up from a horse and carriage. And hey, it doesn’t have a CD player and I turned the radio off during my driving time.

Avoid commerce

Nope. This I specifically did not do. Instead, I wandered around downtown with my family and went out to dinner on Saturday.

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