So this weekend I went backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. As you might imagine, I didn’t have a ton of service once I got out into nature, so I decided to just turn off the phone and leave it in the car for the weekend. Initially, I had planned to put up a post on Facebook that I would be unreachable, but since I didn’t have signal where I parked my car, I just forewent that. And despite hiking up a mountain with a 50lb pack (yes I am considering lighter gear for next time), I haven’t felt this refreshed in a while.
On an average day, I wake up at 6:30 to my phone alarm, and since I usually am not quite ready to get out of bed, I check my personal email. Then I turn on music and go about my morning routine, before I head to the bus. Once I’m seated and on board, I’ll usually check my work email, and then my regular one again. I also usually answer any text messages from while I was asleep. Once I reach the office, I’ll put up both email accounts and start responding to what I’ve gotten.
Basically, within the first three hours of my day, I’ve spent about half of my time dealing with people contacting me. Not having to worry about it at all this weekend was fantastic! There were a couple points where I actually caught myself wondering if I had any text messages, but for the most part I was just paying attention to where I was and what I was doing. And of course, just waking up when I felt like it was pretty nice too.
Obviously, those of us that work and have responsibilities can’t do this all the time. But I completely recommend removing the devices from your person and taking a time out! There are a couple ways to do this that I like to practice:
1 .The Mini-Break: Take small parts of your day where it’s not imperative for you to be reachable. I will usually do this while I’m eating lunch (sorry customers, you can wait till I finish eating my Bareburger and fries!) and while I walk my dog at night. Find a couple points during your day that you can just dedicate to yourself, whether it be your morning coffee break, my examples, or your own creative times.
2. Weekend’s Off: I LOVE to get out into nature, whether it be car-camping or backpacking. Usually on these weekends I will turn off my phone Friday night when I park my car through Sunday when I’m back on the road; and I usually won’t really look at my phone until I’m back home to be honest, I just use the GPS. I’d say aim to do this at least once a month if it’s at all possible for you.
Now, if you’ve never done this before, I recommend being prepared. You will more than likely have the urge to reach for your phone to feel connected at some point. Put it somewhere slightly inconvenient to get to, but still accessible in the case of emergencies. And no cheating – computers, tablets, etc. all count as technology!
You might also feel bored because without your Candy Crush app you don’t know what to do with yourself. Plan some activities for the weekend. You don’t have to be as extreme as me and pull out your tent and sleeping bag – maybe you’ll just clean out your office, or do a movie marathon. It doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t call/text/facebook/ twitter/etc. The point is to dedicate time to yourself – and not worry about other people’s needs for a minute.