“Time was empty and fluid. I remembered my love for drawing, art, reading and writing... Free of distractions, I felt like I could learn and think critically without just repeating information I seen online. And since I wasn't constantly looking at what other brands were doing, I had time to think about what I truly wanted Earth and Elle to be, and formulate a new chapter.”
Six months ago I wrote about how gentle, quiet, cleansing and creative it was to have no internet at home for a whole of seven months. Then, how I approached it with caution when we finally had it hooked up at our new home. Six months later, I follow up on what has changed based on the points I wrote before.
Now, I’m in the habit of checking emails each morning and occasionally at random moments on my phone. I no longer have time to muddle over the greatness of others, that happens pretty much never. Can't complain there. Sometimes I succumb into vague articles on Facebook due to scrolling, but I try to keep it real. I’ve still forgotten about Google-searching random things that pop into my head, for the most part. I do fidget on the phone again, which sucks a bit. Though I rarely watch Netflix anymore, and occasionally watch enjoyable things on Youtube. Happier to setting with a book than to have watching entertainment take over my evenings. My focus certainly travels through various things through the day due to having the internet at my fingertips, but overall, I think seven months without it instilled a stronger sense of caution.
Turning off the WiFi on my phone at night;
Yes, I’m still doing this! In fact I don’t even bring my phone into our sleeping loft now. I was using an old deactivated samsung phone for my alarm clock, but it kind of just died so if I’m feeling like I’ll sleep through my phones’ alarm, I will bring it up to the loft (with wifi turned off) so I’m sure to roll over and hit snooze. Otherwise, it stays at the bottom of the stairs.
Trying to remind myself everyday that focus is more important than what others are doing…
In the original blog I spoke about how easy it was to get sucked into feeling envy at the success of other start-ups. It didn’t take long for me to get over that though. While when we first got internet it was really exciting to see what they were doing, these days I couldn’t be bothered and have all my focus on my own stuff. Reminding myself everyday that focus is more important than worrying about what others were doing is a tactic that worked.
"The internet is a great way to gain and spread awareness,
don’t get me wrong,
but it shouldn’t take up three hours of the day
and it’s not worth the amount of emotion vs. the amount of action we can actually take."
From the original: “Are you feeling anger, envy or sadness when you cruise the internet? These are all good cues that say it's time to put the phone down.”
I think this has been a great one for me. While there are issues I definitely care about online, sometimes those things are really far from my reach and I don’t have much power to take action on the situation. Then I feel sad. The internet is a great way to gain and spread awareness, don’t get me wrong, but it shouldn’t take up three hours of the day and it’s not worth the amount of emotion vs. the amount of action we can actually take. Sometimes, seeing bulk amounts of things I care about online is a valid emotional cue, and sometimes a plain practical cue to put the phone down. If something is worth my reading time, I’ll set it aside and read it later so I can actually enjoy and take it in rather than aimlessly gaze through.
When you're eating, just eat.
It's easy to whip out the phone for entertainment and a bunch of "quick replies" while eating, though this is another area of life that's just better without distractions. I can gladly say that after my internet detox, I’m really put off by eating and scrolling. It’s really not the greatest use of multitasking! Promise, your food will taste better if your mind is solely focused on eating and not scrolling.
A couple more notable tips…
- Learn to snap out of it. Usually remembering that you’ve got better things to do then scroll the internet is a great way to snap out of it.
- You can also put a rubber band around your phone. I haven’t tried this one. If you have, let me know if it’s worked for you!
- Use an old school alarm clock… This helps, a lot. Not having your phone at your bedside table “because you need your alarm” helps quiet down the evening, and most certainly calms the nervous system.
- Don't take your phone into the bathroom. Just don’t.
All in all, we can just turn the thing off once in a while... During times when the cellular device has to be on though, it's not a bad thing to learn how to keep our attention in check. Going without internet for seven months was a cleanse indeed, and while six months later I definitely succumbed to it, the cleanse instilled a stronger sense of caution and I do get a lot less distracted than a year prior to the cleanse.
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