Keeping with the spirit of my internet diet, I spent last weekend fasting. Two days without an email, status update or cat video. Not even a single solitary tweet. We get the Saturday Globe and Mail delivered so I wasn’t forced to go entirely without my outside information hit, but I tried to put some real effort into spending a measurable chunk of time unplugged.
Overall the weekend’s accomplishments were more or less the same amount I manage normally. I brought the kid out to her grandparents, worked out, walked the dogs, watched movies, folded laundry and spent some quality time at the local brew pub. The difference was that none of it was broken up with the little facebook/newspaper/email checks. These internet hits have become such a regular habit of my everyday life that I barely noticed how much I was doing it until I stopped. The moment I did, however, I couldn’t help but notice how much more relaxed I felt.
I’ve never been a good multi-tasker. I don’t listen to music when I work or study for the exact reason that I have trouble concentrating, so I don’t know why I’m surprised that random internet notifications, checks and updates make me stressed. Taking away the temptation to interrupt the day with small distractions really allowed me to be more present in whatever I was doing and it felt really great. I did one thing at a time, got the exact same amount of stuff accomplished, and came out of the weekend feeling genuinely refreshed.
When I found myself standing in line or waiting for my date to return from the washroom I looked up and paid attention to my surroundings instead of checking my phone. What I saw was a whole lot of other people looking down at their own phones.
It would be stupid for me to even consider parting with my smartphone, I need it for work. Ironically, I did in fact, upgrade it this week. From a personal standpoint, I enjoy social media and generally find my friends are informative, interesting, and hilarious (frequently all three). Besides, how else would I learn about all the beautiful, fun and amazing things going on out in the world? I need to challenge myself to find a way to ensure I am using it as a tool to improve my life instead of letting it invade like crab grass.