Just one day a week off your devices reaps emotional and physical benefits.
Posted in , May 19, 2022
Going tech-free—is that even a thing anymore? For so many of us, online is where we live, work, play and connect with others. If tech-dependence wasn’t cemented into place before the pandemic, the past two years have certainly made it a reality that’s hard to turn away from.
But there are costs associated with overuse of devices, technologies, apps and streaming services. The promise of increased productivity and access to, well, anyone and anything at any time, quickly folds in on itself when we use it so much we forget why it’s special. Instead of being a portal to creativity, connection and learning, our devices can leave us feeling distracted, depleted and so busy multi-tasking that we forget to actually task.
There are many choices for how we can push back against this brain drain, from turning off notifications on apps to setting “away” or “silenced” modes on our emails and texts at specific times of day.
But in her new book 24 / 6: Giving Up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity and Connection, author and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain suggests that rather than messing with your everyday routine, it’s best to put your energy into taking one day off from technology each week.
Connected with the Jewish tradition of Shabbat, a 24-hour period each week when “work” is expressly prohibited and rest explicitly encouraged, Shlain’s suggestion carries with it many benefits. Here are just three to get you inspired to give a weekly tech-free day a try.
1) Increased Productivity
Yes, you read that right. You will get more done when you use less technology. There’s a ceiling to the amount of productivity that’s reasonable for any one person. Building in a break gives you the chance to stop—so you can return to work refreshed and ready to roll.
2) Better Health
Research is starting to make connections between overuse of electronic devices and health-sabotaging behaviors, from less—and lower quality—sleep to ruminating or anxious thoughts, even to back and neck problems from hunching over the screen all the time. Taking a weekly tech-break will give you a chance to notice the impact tech use has on your physical health—and make any adjustments that would be helpful.
3) More Authentic Relationships
When you set the expectation with your family and friends that one day a week will be tech-free, you invite them to join you in a deeper, more substantial way of connecting. Instead of trading text messages, maybe you’ll take a walk together, share a meal or discuss a book you recently read or movie you saw. And when you are together, you’ll know you’re fully present—no pings or notifications will pull you away from your visit.
Would you consider trying a weekly tech-free day? How do you think you’d benefit?