A week ago Saturday I was sitting in my living room with my morning coffee feeling, just … off.
I was unfocused, disconnected and discontented. For no particular reason.
While doing my morning journaling (check out my morning routine here) I reflected on why I might be feeling this way.
I realized I’d spent the past three nights in a row watching reruns of Law and Order followed by a Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy. I might have made dinner otherwise, but that was about it.
Now I have nothing against sitting down to watch a movie, or even partaking in an extended veg session now and then. But what made this different was I hadn’t made the conscious choice to intentionally relax and watch television. It had just kind of happened.
And I was feeling unproductive and uninspired because of it. I decided in that moment to take a little break from screens for the week.
Now obviously blogging involves a screen, as does my day job. But those are purposeful, actionable activities. I was talking about mindless scrolling and screen time.
So I decided to commit to no Facebook, no Pinterest, no TV or Netflix. No before-bed scrolling. Nothing involving a screen that wasn’t absolutely necessary or didn’t serve a purpose.
Here’s how I fared, why I’m committing to screen free Saturdays going forward, and why I think you should too!
My screen-free weekend
What followed that initial blah start to my Saturday was one of the most productive and enjoyable weekends I’d had in a long time. Instead of being glued to my phone I:
Spent time outdoors / gardening
Last year I started a small veggie and herb garden in a raised bed in our backyard. I’d been meaning to get it planted for a couple of weeks but hadn’t found the time. So I went to our local garden centre, picked out a small selection and came home and got my hands dirty.
At the same time, my husband was outside washing the cars and my cat was busy chasing anything that could fly, including mosquitoes. It was sunny and warm out and just a great time to spend outdoors as a family.
We also opened up our pop up tent-trailer, had a bonfire, and made some s’mores for the first time of the season. They were gooey and delicious and it was basically bliss.
Took care of long term to-do’s
You know those tasks that just seem to sit on you to-do list forever? You never make them a priority but you also can’t drop them completely because at some point, sooner or later, they do need to get done.
Well I finally tackled a couple!
For example, there has been a hole in the seam of one of my work purses for ages. I’m talking over a year. And I finally mended it. You know how long it took me? Probably fifteen minutes!
Seriously, I have no idea why I let things like this clutter my mental space for so long! Take a page from my book and just do them already!
Got organized for the week ahead
I sat down with my agenda and layed out everything that needed to get done for the week ahead. My calendar, meetings, personal and professional to-do lists, meal plan, packing list for the conference I’d be leaving for midweek. You name it, I organized it!
Connected with my husband
Nothing fancy here, just some good old fashioned quality time together. Doing household things that needed doing anyhow, talking, making a nice dinner together, figuring out some of our summer plans. Actually being with each other and not just on our individual technologies in the presence of one another.
I confess I didn’t last the whole week
Thursday I left to spend a few days in Toronto for the Canadian Women in Medicine conference (more on this to come). It had a corresponding Facebook group that was buzzing with all the energy of the weekend and it was impossible not to get caught up!
But overall I still counted my technology time-out a success.
It took me from feeling blah to re-energized very quickly and, more importantly, freed up some time and space to get back to doing things with more intention.
While this is the first time I’ve ever taken on a formal technology fast, it certainly won’t be the last. The benefits were so immediately and obviously clear to me that I figured why not try to recreate the magic on a regular basis if I can! Hence … screen-free Saturdays.
Of course, depending on what’s going on in my life, I may not be able to do it every week. And I’m not going to beat myself up about it if I can’t. But I think overall it’s a worthwhile pursuit, and will help me be more mindful of my use of technology overall.
Have you ever taken on a similar challenge? Would you like to? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time…