Our family went on vacation to Boyne Falls, Michigan last week and it was a fantastic time away. In fact, I ended up being even more away from real-life than I had planned. We always bring along our laptop when we go on trips so that we can stay connected. However, the poor thing is getting very old and slow. So, my husband wiped it clean a few weeks ago and installed the bare minimum amount of software back onto it to try to speed it up.
So, imagine my surprise when we arrived at our destination and I attempted to log into email and social media only to find that the computer was asking me for all of my passwords. Eek! I’m used to Chrome logging me in automatically so I was at a loss.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who doesn’t have all of their passwords memorized?!?
After a moment or two of panic, I realized that maybe this was for the best. Not only would my body be on vacation but my mind would be as well. And guess what! After being unable to check my email and most of my social media for a week, I learned a few new things and was reminded of a few others.
Here are 8 Things I Learned from Taking a Tech Fast:
1 – Social Media Takes Up a Ton of Time
I’m sure you already know this but it is worth repeating. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube can be useful for staying in touch with family and friends as well as for receiving encouragement. I LOVE being able to interact with all of you on my Facebook page. But social media can easily morph from a useful tool into a cruel tyrant. Taking time away from it all can be a huge blessing.
There’s plenty of time to live our lives if we aren’t compulsively looking at our phone or computer all the time. I was surprised that I had so much time to work out, read a book for PLEASURE, spend quality time with my family, and relax when I laid off of my phone. Yes, I was on vacation at the time. But when I lay off of technology on a non-vacation day, I find I have a lot more time to spend doing these other activities as well.
Remember, we don’t have to see everything that goes by on our newsfeed to be a good friend. Most of the social media stuff is fun but it can also be a huge time waster if we aren’t careful.
2 – 75%-90% of my emails are SPAM
After not being able to check my email for a week, I couldn’t believe how many of the emails I was able to just delete upon arriving home. Even with good SPAM filters, much of the email that hits our inboxes is still SPAM. Of course, I love having readers signed up for my weekly email. But if you find yourself spending more time when you like sifting through your incoming mail, it may be time to unsubscribe from a few things.
3 – You can catch up after taking a break
It doesn’t take very long to skim back over your newsfeed and your inbox to see what you missed while you were giving technology a break. After taking a week off from checking social media and email, even as a blogger, I was able to catch up fairly quickly once we were back home.
If you find yourself spending a lot of time on technology, try closing a few tabs on your browser or turning off many of the notifications which are interrupting you on a regular basis.
4 – The world is a beautiful place
There’s a beautiful world going on all around us. We need to train ourselves to look up! I know there are plenty of days when it feels like our kids will never grow up and we may not make it through whatever difficult season we are in. Those sleepless nights with a newborn. The endless potty training years. The tween years when our kids start rolling their eyes and giving us resistance for seemingly no reason.
But our kids really do grow up quickly. Take it from a mom who has a 16-year-old and an almost 18-year-old. The years are short. Enjoy the life you have been given. Walk away from your computer. Put down your phone. Try to be more present with your family.
5 – Long, leisurely days are super relaxing
There are plenty of things in our modern world which take up our time. But technology is a huge culprit in this area. How many times have you found yourself getting lost while checking your Facebook feed? Or going down the rabbit hole in Pinterest? It’s easy to spend hours mindlessly clicking through tabs or hitting refresh to see if the new picture we’ve posted on Instagram has gotten any likes.
When we take a technology fast we may be surprised at how much more relaxed we feel! And how much more time we have for things we didn’t think we could fit into our day such as self-care. It’s important for us to take occasional breaks and keeping technology in check may help you find the time to do so.
6 – Easier to connect with people
I love how social media helps me to stay connected with friends and family who live far away. To stay up to date with what they’re doing and how their lives are going. But for people we see on a regular basis, social media can actually be a pitfall.
Think about it. If we don’t know about everything that’s going on in someone’s life we’ll have more questions we can ask them in person. Sometimes, we see so many posts from people that we think we know about everything that they’re going through and we don’t think to ask them how they’re actually doing.
In my opinion, it’s more important to talk with people and listen to them than it is to hit LIKE on all of their posts. This goes back to being present with people and really being there for them.
7 – Technology can make it hard to think
Technology can be mindnumbing. Have you ever found yourself sitting at your computer going from tab to tab hitting refresh and not really thinking? I know I have. If you decide to take a technology fast, it may be painful at first. Your brain will crave the stimulation it is used to receiving from your devices. In fact, even as I’m writing this post I keep finding myself clicking over to Facebook to see what people are posting!
But when you take a tech fast those feelings will dim and you will be surprised at how much more at peace you will feel. There’s something refreshing about having the time and the presence of mind to take in your surroundings. To be alone with your thoughts.
8 – My family is pretty awesome to spend time with
We’ve always made it a priority to spend lots of family time together. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated. While we were on vacation, much of our time was spent playing games together, swimming in the pool, hiking Boyne mountain, and laughing together.
Technology has many benefits. But it can also swoop in and take up too much of our time and attention if we aren’t careful. If you’ve been struggling to master the tech in your life, consider taking a tech fast. Even one day without devices will be eye-opening. What will you be able to experience if you don’t check your phone for an entire day? It’s probably a lot more fulfilling than keeping up on your social media feeds.
Have you ever taken a tech fast? If so, was it a good experience? I’d love to hear about any lessons you learned. Please leave a comment below.