Every week, no matter what is going on, I disconnect for 24 hours from my phone, email and any other electronic gadget. Disconnecting from technology one day a week allows me to recharge and refresh. It saves me from the constant flow of emails, texts, calls and notifications that barrage me during the week. It allows me to reconnect with family and friends, to read, to relax and to contemplate.
Disconnecting, in my view, is necessary, especially for busy entrepreneurs. Here are a few reasons to put down the electronics once a week:
1. It builds self-control.
Technology controls our lives. Our phones buzz or we’re pinged with an email, and we drop whatever we’re doing to answer the notification. But deciding when to use technology gives us back the control.
Committing to not using technology takes self-control. No matter what someone is working on, they have to stop and turn everything off at the minute when their 24-hour tech-free period starts. They have to fight the urge to keep working, just for five more minutes, which turns to 10, which turns to an hour.
Strictly adhering to a no-tech schedule forces individuals to work when they have access to their technology, and build the self-control to power down at a specified time.
2. It relaxes the brain.
We look at screens all day long, from our phones, computers and tablets to the TV, we stare at screens for work and entertainment. We’ve trained our brains to wait for and expect notifications to pop up.
But that constant stimulation overwhelms and stresses the brain. In fact, a survey of working adults conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand in August 2013 found that 38 percent of millennials reported feeling “technology overload.”
What’s more, our addiction to technology can impact our quality of sleep. A 2014 study conducted by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that using an ereader before bedtime can negatively affect overall health, alertness and sleeping patterns.
Unplugging for a day can give the mind some much-needed rest from the overstimulation and overuse of technology we subject it to every day.
3. It gives time back.
Without TV, Candy Crush, Facebook, Twitter and email, some people may not know what do with themselves. Suddenly, there’s a lot more a free time they have to fill. Use this time to get back to things that matter most.
I use my technology-free time to reconnect with friends and family. Almost every Friday night, I host a dinner and invite my friends and family over. We don’t look at our phones or have the TV on in the background. We catch up without technology interrupting us.
Use the spare time to have family dinner, relax outside, read a book or invite friends over.
4. It allows for family bonding.
During the week, everyone is distracted by their tablets and phones. But when the technology is turned off, the family comes together.
A tech-free day is a chance to play board games, participate in outdoor activities or just spend quality time together. Without the constant call of technology, family members can focus on each other, not their screens.
5. It lets you think.
When we’re always doing something and always entertained by technology, we often don’t take the time to think deeply or abstractly. Without technology, we’re left with our thoughts. The mind is free to wander, reflect on the week and think deeply.
Allowing thoughts to run free can lead to new ideas, solutions to problems and coming to different conclusions. This level of deep thinking rarely happens while looking at a phone, scrolling through a computer or channel surfing. Put technology on hold and set the mind free.
Do you disconnect? For how long? What do you do without technology? Tell us in the comments section below.