I Tried to Unplug for One Day

Oct. 24th, 2016

Recently I’d had some great success with productivity in both business I am running and co-running. I even stayed up until midnight a few weeks ago in order to fulfill my hours quota, such was the motivation I’d found.

The plates I was spinning of Green Door Life Coaching and Ringcrafts were solid, no sign of wobble. Then, without me even noticing, my self care plate fell. Usually I notice at least the clatter as it hits the floor, but not this time. Then my sleep plate fell. And when that plate goes down it usually pulls almost all the others down with it.

So on October 1st, I started a 30 day self care challenge of my own creation. Each day I am tasked with an item of self care that will also hopefully set a trend. One early item was drink either a cup of green tea or a large glass of lemon water. Since then I’ve been fairly diligent in my habit of drinking at least one of these two hydrating items.

Then came the item ‘Unplug for a day’ and with it a philosophical conundrum. I scheduled the day on October 8th because the day it happened to land on was a day I needed technology for business purposes. When October 8th came however, I was excited and looking forward to the break from all things wired, but problems just kept cropping up.

The first was the fact that I am not able to take a complete break from tech because my clients need to be able to reach me. So I made that my first exception, for my smartwatch, email, and phone.

The second exception was my poor dopamine production as a result of my ADHD. I rely heavily on Netflix to give me the dopamine I need to have executive functions. So if I banned Netflix/DVDs/YouTube/Podcasts I would not be giving myself a refreshing break but actually dooming myself to a painful and boring lack of productivity on either work or leisure activities.

So I decided I would listen to music out loud, with no headphones to reduce the technological impact, and watch Netflix only with my husband. This was a great theory, but it assumed my husband would be available and we would be able to agree on what to watch. This was not the case so that rule too fell by the wayside.

The third issue was that of my routines. The items are housed in a list in my phone. Without that item of technology essential tasks would go undone. So I made an exception for that as well as all the items of work listed in the phone. Concession after concession.

At the end of October 8th, the only difference between my “unplugged” day and a regular day was all the extra work of trying to figure out how to function without technology. I did not feel refreshed, except for one thing: I actively sought out ways to produce dopamine without technology and ended up taking the time to engage with people.

There was a time when my use of technology was very harmful to me. The fact that taking technology away was harmful now tells me that I have finally reached a good balance. This is an amazing accomplishment for me.

The lessons I am drawing from this:

1: When you try and do things just because conventional wisdom says it’s beneficial, you are likely to be missing something.

2: Going to extremes isn’t helpful.

3: All of the above doesn’t mean stopping to smell the roses is bad.

How would you define ‘unplugging’?