1 Aug 2014

Spending 24 Hours Offline + Tech-Free

The thought of spending 24 hours totally tech-free isn't something that's crossed my mind. I'm a part the last generational age group who've both experienced pre + post internet-inception; I remember what it's like to have regular toys to play with and mucking about on the street. We didn't need a phone, rather just knocking on friend's doors to see if they fancied coming out. I clearly remember the first commercial internet boom, in the late 90s - It was gradual; starting with pay-per-minute connections, screechy dial-up tones and bottomless Yahoo chat rooms. At first it really wasn't that good, I chatted to mates if it was raining after school + used it find Nintendo 64 cheats, that was about it. It wasn't even a secondary thought.

Nowadays it's the total opposite - wake up at 7am by my iPhone alarm, check emails and have a quick flick on social networks while I have breakfast, then head to the gym (and watch Everybody Loves Raymond on the treadmill TV). For someone who makes a living via their 13inch screen the idea of spending a whole 24-hours totally tech brings a bunch of worrying* thoughts. What if I miss out on work opportunities? What if I don't promote the blog? What if I see something interesting and want take a photo of? What if I get behind on deadlines? What if...?

My curious mind is nosey by nature.

An email popped in my inbox last week challenging me to a whole day free from tech - at first I brushed it aside but Hollie muttered, "I didn't think you were so obsessed!". Hmm, either did I! So last weekend I decided to give it a go and shut myself off from technology, for 24 hours. How did I get on? In all honestly it was hard** for a few hours - I went to the gym early and ended up staying an extra 30 minutes just to make the most of it. All throughout my session I wondered how this blog post would turn out. I choose to cut myself off on the same day I work at my PT job, so the urge to check my "notifications" every five minutes soon fizzled away. It did feel weird though, my curious mind is nosey by nature but I kept reminding myself, "what's the worst that can happen?". The urge soon faded and I relaxed into the day - totally tech-free was the aim but I did allow myself to carry my camera, cos it's not hooked up to the internet so I thought it seemed ok?

I don't watch much TV so that wasn't an issue but what got me most was that I couldn't check in to see if everything was alright with little old Buckets & Spades. I've been writing on these pages for seven + 1/2 years, for the past year I've updated it pretty much six times per week. It's kinda ingrained in me now; routinely keeping on top of emails, replying to comments, planning content, researching, traveling....a similar picture to a lot of us now. Take that away and we're left with a gaping hole in the day, but also the freedom to let your mind switch off from the bombardment of the constant good news/bad news (mostly Facebook). Felt good I must admit. This www. is my life, and I genuinely value each and every person* who makes the effort to click + interact; it's how I earn a living and my main creative outlet, but sometimes breaking from our routine is a priceless remedy. It gave me time to reflect + plan how I can really grow my business.

Did I succeed? I'm pleased to say that I did resist the urge to go online in the main but admittedly I "had" to send an email in the evening, guilty. In terms of an experiment and challenge to myself I do feel it was a success, even if I did cave to the keyboard once - it's something that we could all benefit from once in a while.

I'd love to hear from you - Do you ever refresh and go tech-free often or would consider giving it a go for 24 hours?

Thanks for reading,

*worrying for my business
**hard in terms of my own personal circumstance, which is a fortunate one
***if you made it this far then you deserve a big thank you

This isn't a sponsored post, I really just wanted the challenge!

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  1. Good post Mat! I like honestly and plateful of food for thought to pick at with my morning coffee.

    Breaking routine is essential in life I think. It helps us breathe, stand back and re-think, evaluate and relax all things necessary for living full healthy balanced life. I know this is so much easier for me to do as I make zero money from my blog but I regularly go tech-free. Getting away from my tech and just living is how I find adventures :)

  2. This was interesting to read. I only vaguely remember not having my life revolve around the internet, like when I used to read books on the train instead of surf the net on my phone! I don't know if I could do a 24 hour tech blackout myself...

  3. I'm going to try this over the weekend. I hate that in so attached to my phone because of the Internet.

  4. fascinating! i actually don't force myself to get off 100%. i am still at the stage where i think it's a bit too forced. i try though to keep a balance and block off times when i'm on the phone vs. when i'm off the internet. it's hard though and i find myself grabbing at my phone even when i'm watching a netflix movie! but the balance approach works for me. i used to work in a position where i was constantly getting fed updates and news (i worked as a communications person for a non-profit dealing with traditional and new media) and so my mentality was that i constantly had to be part of the conversation so we wouldn't be "left out" and be relevant. i'm so glad i'm not in that mindset right now. great post mat! have a good weekend!

  5. I remember the pre-internet days too! Were they more simple or am I romanticising them? Either way, you did well mate, and I'm glad it was constructive as well as just giving your eyes a break! I've gone without tech quite often (mainly because I am becomming more and more disillusioned with blogging generally) and I find I'm much happier reading books and exploring outside. Do miss taking photographs when I've forgotten my camera though. An excellent experiment, Mr Buckets! <3 Claire @ Jazzpad


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