two women in black coats

Curious to explore their relationships with technology, Kelsey, Sepi and Laurie each took one day off from all their devices. Read on for the results.  

What did you learn about yourself and what did you learn about others from your day off the grid?

I learned that when I don't have my phone there are more hours in the day than I thought there were. I got more done before noon than I accomplish in most days.  

And I learned that people will wait if I ask them to. My instinct to drop everything and respond to texts immediately seemed unnecessary after my day off the grid.  

 What devices or contact did you miss?

GPS!  I have a terrible sense of direction so GPS is an important time saving tool for me.  I had to plan my day very carefully to only go places I was familiar with. 

And I missed my timers. I use my HomePod regularly to set timers for little things I want to spend a fixed amount of time doing:  reading the news, charging my car, squeezing in one last task before I have to leave for an appointment.  Without a watch or a timer, I completely lost track of time. Which was actually pretty nice.  

I try to start my day with a guided meditation, and trying to meditate with neither a guide nor a timer was torture for me. 

I did break my no technology pledge once during the day when I lost my friend Michele in a museum.  I had to decide whether to call Michele to find out where she was or to risk missing out on seeing the rest of the Edith Heath exhibit with her.  So I called her.  

What devices or contact did you definitely not miss?

The junk mail in my email inbox. 

And it was nice to wait for Michele at the museum when I arrived early and just watch the other patrons coming and going.  Typically I would have my head down and I'd be scrolling on my phone.  

Now that you have had a day away from your devices, do you have judgments about where technology has had a positive impact on your life and where it has had a negative impact on your life?

Most definitely the flexibility that comes from being able to make plans or connect with someone on the fly is very nice.  I text with my children throughout the day, and I missed that.  And I love having my music, my timers and my GPS.  

And recipes!  I wanted to make soup on my detox day, but the recipe I wanted was online, so I had to wing it.  

I think the negative aspect of technology is the desire to have up to the minute updates all the time.  My attention span is shot from clicking around on my phone and my laptop all the time. Even though I have notifications turned off on all my devices, it's so tempting to just roam around and see what's happening on all the apps on my phone or tabs I have open on my laptop.  

What was the first thing you did when you got your devices back?

I did the Wordle for the day and I called my son Jack to talk about The Batman. 

How do you think you'll change your relationship with technology after your detox?

I think I'll buy and old fashioned analog watch.  The number of times I look at my phone each day to check the time, forget why I'm there and fall down some social media rabbit hole is embarrassing to admit. 

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Laurie Furber