Try This: Take a Media Break and Turn off Your Computer

You don’t need to be religious to take a day of rest from our super-saturated electronic lives

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What are you missing while you check your phone again?

Whatever happened to one day of rest each week? While the concept may seem old-fashioned, it also has modern relevance for those connected 24/7. Time to take an electronic media fast

Check your phone, check your e-mail, check your Facebook page. Repeat. With every new technology that comes along, it seems we get busier and more scattered.

Is it that we’re trying to pack too much into too few hours, or could it be, as some commentators have suggested, that technology itself is to blame? Some blogs have even suggested we limit media in various ways.

Try a Media Break

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to keep a media fast on Sundays. Admittedly, my self-chosen diet is a fairly arbitrary one. I’ll still use my home telephone, for example, but not the computer. In addition, I try not to do work related to my job on Sundays – but I do plenty of housework.

Turning off Inspires Others

When you’re always on, others have to be too. If I send an e-mail on a Sunday, it creates an expectation that someone needs to check and return it – even, I’ve noticed, if I say it’s okay with me if the reply comes a day later.

Recharge with a Day of Rest

At first, I worried that my media fast would cost me in opportunities and make Monday a mad scramble to catch up. That hasn’t happened.

Like the day in bed I’ve previously written about, a breather from technology seems simply to allow me to regroup, reorganize and get back to work newly energized on Monday morning.

Turns out taking time off isn’t such a time-waster after all. But it does take a bit of practice. Here are a few tips for turning off effectively:

  1. Tell people you won’t be available. Let your close friends and family know how to contact you, but for everyone else, post an automated message saying you won’t be responding to messages until the next day.
  2. Avoid temptation. The first few media breaks might be difficult if you’re a media junkie, so avoid temptation. Plan some outdoor activities and leave your phone at home. Turn off your computer so you won’t be tempted by any flashing on-screen alerts.
  3. Use your smartphone as a phone. Don’t launch any apps to check on what you’re missing. Don’t upload photos to your Facebook page even if you don’t consider it work. Use your phone strictly as a phone to connect with those who are close to you. They’ll probably appreciate it more than a Facebook message anyway.