Don’t Be Stupid, It Can Wait Until Monday
Some Sundays are tougher than others – but usually it’s one of the children that has their ‘moment’. This weekend it was me.
It should have been easy, we had friends over for a BBQ as our eldest son turns 18 this week and we thought we’d gather a few people and celebrate. With more children and a sunny day forecast it typically makes it easier to forget the gadgets – and for the youngsters that was certainly the case.
But not for me.
I awoke on Sunday morning with an overwhelming urge to grab my phone and check it. In fact I started to sneak towards my laptop as soon as I got downstairs. I held myself in check, but only just. The reason? Last week I spent a huge amount of time on Social Media talking about my book – some evenings were extended and I found myself compulsively checking reviews on Amazon.
For me, one of the main draws of social media is the ability to connect with people all over the world, and learn new things. Yes, I like the affirmation that retweets, likes and comments bring to my work – and having researched this extensively I know that the more I do it, the more my brain is conditioned to expect the little dopamine hits that come along with it.
But let’s face facts. I just published a book on taking a day off, and here I was at 7am on a Sunday morning about to sneak away from the family and conceal the very behaviour I’m trying to prevent.
Why did I feel this way? The increase in internet activity during the week had started to increase my levels of addiction again (there’s a reason that alcoholics always refer to themselves in the present tense, no matter how long it has been since the last drink – it never really goes away). I’d hit the first marker – “Craving the object of addiction”, and was on my way to number 2 “Suffer loss of control over its use”.
Inside my head, a battle was taking place –
“Check Twitter, see how many followers you have”.
“Look at the reviews on Amazon, maybe someone has left another one”
“Respond to those messages on Facebook and LinkedIn”
“Don’t be bloody stupid, it can wait until Monday. After finally writing the book, do you really want to be a hypocrite?”
Thankfully, with the rest of the family waking up around me, it didn’t become a challenge. The phone stayed away, the laptop stayed closed and the day progressed as every Tech Free Sunday does – with us all living in the moment, with the people around us. Other than one Grandad who got distracted by alerts when he picked up his iPad to take photo’s we all had a completely web free day.
In case you’re wondering how all the children occupied themselves – other than the eating, drinking and trampolining – they created a movie about a mysterious plague and an invisible zombie. Using one of the adults iPhones the group of them put together a 12 minute film for us to watch at the end of the day.
And that’s the secret to successfully taking a day off from Tech, and in particular the internet. Knowing and understanding when creativity, exploration and ‘living in the moment’ can be enhanced by using a gadget. Without the web, the phone just became a camcorder and they all had a great time with each other – not worrying about what distant friends (or strangers) thought of it.
(My Wife just read through this, and told me that she found the other Grandad hiding in the study looking at his iPad away from everyone else. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can still be addicted)