Week 46: Digital Detox
“You can take all the pictures you want, but you can never relive the moment the same way.” ― Audrey Regan
What did I do:
Earlier this week I was working from home and had my personal laptop, my work laptop and my phone all at my desk. Soon enough, I was toggling between the three devices doing work, writing emails, checking notifications, texting a friend, etc. You get it. I took a deep breath and knew it was time for a digital detox. So as soon as the weekend came, I did just that. I spent an entire 36 hours completely void of my devices, social media and digital communication. Now you might think I had a pretty boring day, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
I slept in until 8am, made a to do list and by the end of the night I accomplished a good 90% of it. I meditated, did some yoga and hiked Runyon Canyon. Spent some of my afternoon shopping for a much needed new carry on, my previous one broke while at the airport on the way back from NYC. Read a few chapters of a book, brainstormed some strategy for the following week, cleaned my apartment and took a 45 minute nap at 4pm. In the evening, I got dressed and headed off to DTLA for dinner and a show at Walt Disney Music Hall.
It was a fantastic way to spend a Saturday. Sunday morning, I was well rested, recharged and ready for a new day.
Who was with me:
I spent most of the day alone so I didn't talk much with the exception of exchanging some dialogue with a fellow hiker and a sales clerk at the store. Once I met up with my friend Kyle for dinner, I was fully present and we shared many wonderful stories catching up. I noticed that neither of us had our phones out which made the dinner much more engaging.
By the way, we had dinner at Kendall's Brasserie and it was really good. I went for their classic French onion soup, steak tartare and a sparkling rosé. Yummy!!
What did I learn:
First and foremost, if you decide to go on a digital detox be sure to tell your loved ones in advance. I failed to do so and had a slew of text messages and missed calls from my family and friends worried something had happened to me....oops!
At about 9:30am I had the strongest desire to grab and check my phone. Once I was able to bypass that initial temptation, the rest of the day went pretty smooth. Not to say there were no more temptations but they were manageable.
About half way through the LA philharmonic concert I realized that I was completely present in the moment, taking in the entire experience. The arrangements being played were very dynamic and spectacular to witness. With a little focus, I could actually hear individual instruments that were part of a 70 piece orchestra. Inherently, I knew the reason the experience was so much more rich and captivating was because I had unplugged all day, decluttered my mind and body and was fully able to enjoy the present moment.
I am sharing a few photos in this blog but please know they are not mine. I grabbed them off the internet since I made it a point to not take pictures or video throughout the day.
Would I do this again:
I loved my entire experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I have considered making it a regularly scheduled treat for myself. The restful and yet productive day was very much needed. Perhaps it may not be realistic for everyone to do what I did, especially for parents of young children. So I won't naively expect everyone to drop everything and do a digital detox. But with a little creativity, even people with extreme demand on their time by dependents may be able to cut technology out for a block of time. In fact, if you all do it together, it will increase the quality of time spent with each other.