I read recently that most of us check our mobile phones and other technology devices an astonishing 150 times per day!
I’m as guilty as the next person of being on my phone and laptop more often than I should be. Not only is it easy to check these devices way too often but it’s also way too easy for a short session of “checking important messages” to become a largely forgotten hour down the technology rabbit hole.
While getting ready for a 4-night stay at the beach last week my wife, Sarah, sent a wave of shock through the family by saying, “when we’re away let’s put our phones in a box by the door and not use them”. “OK”, I said, liking this radical idea of going tech free, but not convinced whether it would really happen. Surprisingly, my soon-to-start-high-school, just-got-a-phone-for-Christmas, daughter Audrey also said she would give this a go.
I’m very pleased to report that we all succeeded in our phone free quest and that the holiday was all the better for it. There were times when I felt the pull to break the pledge but we kept each other tech free and on target.
As it turns out, going tech free on our holiday had a number of benefits:
- We found that time passed more slowly and the holiday felt longer than it was
- We enjoyed each other’s company better than ever
- We got into “holiday mode” more quickly and found ourselves really relaxed (I was so relaxed I forgot to take the apartment key out of my pocket and lost it in the ocean one day – oops!)
- We read novels, in my case the excellent Your Fathers, Where are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live for Ever by Dave Eggers
- We noticed the things around us – for example, the planes passing close overhead became interesting rather than annoying when we started playing “guess the airline” and watching them more closely
- We made the time to do something we haven’t done before as a family, hiring going on a kayak paddle together
- We got to bed much earlier than usual and we slept like logs
Since the holiday ended and normal life has resumed we’ve started using our devices again, albeit a bit less and a bit more consciously than before.
I’m pretty sure we’ll be needing another tech free holiday soon. I’m looking forward to it already.
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