When a letter arrived announcing that our power was being cut off I was actually pleased. It was only for one day. It would be a Sunday. And I thought it would provide an opportunity for me to try a ‘digital fast’ of sorts.

Theoretically, I could have pretty much carried on as usual. I could have picked the day to go out for lunch. Or I could have picked up an Internet connection from a nearby hotspot.

But I wanted to give the non-digital life a go at least for a few hours. I did anything digital on Saturday rather than Sunday.

My non-digital day

I needed to be home in the morning to let the engineer in so that gave me an excuse to rule out any ideas about an early start. Instead, I did a few things online and checked all my devices were fully charged (just in case!). Then I relaxed with a cup of tea and a book. Until I realised I was hungry. I was able to zap some leftover Chinese food in the microwave as the power was still on.

And then the doorbell went, and the engineer fiddled with the fuse box for 10 seconds, and that was it. I was free. So I went to my allotment.

Usually, I would have kept looking at my watch. Then I would have worried about the things I needed to get done at home. However, I knew that the only ‘task’ awaiting me was a good book! And I had all day so I resisted the urge to rush and bolt. Instead, I enjoyed a long productive session before staggering home.

Back home

Having a wash in some cold water was pleasant as it was a warm day. The thought of food stumped me. Happily, I found that the fridge had some couscous. And there were various bits that could be added. Then I settled down with a book.

Every few minutes my brain would suggest that I needed to check my phone or my iPad. Or it would occur to me that I should look at my job list as there must be something else I could do. It took me a good hour to really focus by which point the engineer returned to put the power back on.

I’d struggled to get into non-digital time. So I wasn’t about to quit. I decided to carry on as if the power was still off, and had a really relaxing few hours reading on the sofa, or in the garden.

Digital-free learning

And what did learn (because we have to reflect on such opportunities when they come our way)? I thought back over the day as noted the following:

  • I think there is always something else I must do. As a result, I rush through tasks.
  • I check texts, emails, and social media rather frequently, interrupting other activities in order to do so.
  • My approach to eating at weekends is somewhat random.

What I’m going to do with my observations:

  • Try and focus on the moment.
  • Resist the urge to think about what I might do next.
  • Reduce job list checks. Furthermore either do a task, or pick a time to next look at the list. Currently I seem to browse it like a food cupboard to see if anything takes my fancy.
  • Have a clue about what I might be eating at weekends just as I do the rest of the week

Have you done a digital fast? Or found yourself without your device of choice? Are you obsessed with checking your job list (analogue or digital)? How do cope without them?