Not Through a Screen: Update 1

Good morning! I want to provide an update on my progress with limiting the use of technology. If you didn’t catch the initial posts, here is a link to Part 1 (a Two Cents piece) and Part 2 (a For the Future piece). In essence, I became more aware of my attachment to devices and once I began to notice it, the more sickening it all was.

The experience has really expanded to become quite organic. While I set some rules for myself, how I unplug is based on what’s going on that day and how I feel. I started the rule of ‘no tech until work‘ with the exception of blogging in the morning. That has been going very well. I keep my phone in the bedroom charging while I get ready, computer and iPad stay off, and TV doesn’t ever get turned on until my lunch break. I find things to do, whether that’s sitting and having that first cup of coffee, writing in my journal, a morning yoga practice, meditation, or just letting my mind wander in the morning silence. Let me tell you: it’s a great way to start the day.

A challenge I face is what to do during work hours. I sit in front of a computer screen from 9-5 and there is no work-around to that. However, there are other things I can monitor. Like Facebook. It’s crazy how often I open up a new window and immediately go to Facebook. I quickly I become entranced with the endless scrolling and lose track of time. So, I did a couple of things:

  1. I downloaded a plugin for my computer that monitors how long I am spending on Facebook every day. The results can be quite scary but it’s good to be able to see it right there in front of me.
  2. The next thing I did was download another plugin called StayFocusd. This allows you to choose sites to block for a certain amount of time. They call it the Nuclear Option and I use it often. You choose the sites, how long you want to block them for, and hit Nuke ‘Em! Not only does this keep me off Facebook for as long as I need to be, it’s another way for me to see how often I try to get there. There are other things the plug in does, but that’s what I use every day.

Facebook aside, there have been a plethora of articles recently outlining the negative effects that sitting for long periods of time, usually behind a screen, has on your body. I downloaded an app called Awareness which monitors how long you are active on your computer. When you have been active on it for one hour without taking a break, it notifies you with the sound of a singing bowl to let you know it’s time to take a break. After 5 minutes of inactivity (when you should be taking said break), it resets. It’s all based on the activity happening on your computer.

What this has done for me:

  • Made me realize how long I end up sitting without getting up and moving—it’s amazing how quickly an hour goes by
  • Gives me regular intervals to get up and move around
  • Gives me more energy during the day because I use those breaks to go for a quick walk, do a quick flow in my living room to stretch, or just take care of little things I need to do around the apartment

The breaks aren’t long, but they are enough to get up, stretch, do some breathing exercises, give my body and back a break, even get my heart rate up with a quick workout. I feel more energized and actually happier since I’ve been doing this, so I highly recommend it. Not to mention, when I am done work at 5, I have more desire to do something active, rather than plop on the couch and not get up for a few hours. It’s a lesson I can take with me outside of my 9-5.

Moving away from my screens has been liberating. I still have a lot of work to do, but I know progress is being made and my days are better for it. If anyone else is working on doing the same, I would love to hear about the things you do to unplug!

Have a wonderful, tech free Thursday!

Namaste

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