I signed on for the National Day of Unplugging. I went into it thinking: this is probably going to be a little hard. 24 hours. No phone. No computer. No distractions.
I left my phone in my bedroom the entire day. I didn’t turn on the TV. I heard all of the expected jokes, asking if I was going to “use electricity” or “read by candle light”. No, I wasn’t taking it that far, because that wasn’t the point.
The point was to free myself from distractions and time wasters. To remove those very things that pull me away from being present each day.
The day was incredible! Ever since I have been focusing on being more present in each of my days, I have been living more intentionally. But, dedicating an entire 24-hour period to “unplug” took it even further.
Here are three things I learned:
1. It is a great way to achieve clarity of mind. You know that feeling where you are unsure what to do next? The constant pull of “I have to do something” or that knee-jerk reaction when your phone buzzes when you have a message? I experienced none of that. I found mental clarity. I discovered that I could remember more details of my day than I normally do. My mind simply felt focused.
2. It felt really good! I was afraid that I’d struggle with wanting to check my phone (at least just once!). However, it was amazing to free myself from the nagging feeling of checking my phone, of being distracted watching TV and getting sucked into my laptop. It was a detox without any negative side effects…the side effects of this were extremely beneficial: dedicated, undistracted time with myself and my family.
3. It made a great day even better. I was able to treasure the time I spent with my family. I felt relaxed, much more than I usually do (and I am a very type-A personality). I wasn’t sidetracked by unnecessary distractions.
Listen, I know it is unrealistic to think that we can just “unplug” all the time. Just like I explained in my post, “No Phone Zones“, I think we need to simply dedicate certain important times in our lives to unplug. And, if you ever get an opportunity to spend a full 24-hours unplugged, be sure to take advantage. It feels really, really good.
This is what my Be Present project is all about. Recognizing that we only get one chance at each day. Don’t live it being distracted all the time and just floating through your day. Ground yourself in being present. Even if it is only for five minutes at a time.
The time is now, so do it.
Finally, I have been lucky enough to meet others who are on the same journey. Meg (A Mindful Journey) in particular is dedicating each month to explore a different way to be more mindful. You’ll find great ideas and stories here. Enjoy.