For the past year or so, my dad has been advocating for ‘Technology Free Sundays’. One day a week, he keeps his phone off, doesn’t check email, and doesn’t watch TV. He’s been trying to get my sister and I to join him, but my response is always the same: my schoolwork, job, and social life depends on technology.
While I cannot completely give up technology for a week, I can take a large step in that direction. Starting on Monday, November 26, I will not use technology for anything other than schoolwork, my job, and to keep in contact with friends and family (this means texting and calling, not scrolling through instagram and facebook). I will analyze my success at the end of the week using my iPhone’s ‘screentime’ application and a chrome extension called ‘ZenScreen’ that tracks what websites are used for how long. I predict that this intervention will improve my productivity, sleep schedule, and consciousness of the things happening around me. It might be something I want to continue.
Update on Sunday, December 2:
This week without unnecessary technology was really hard, but definitely worth it. The first two days I would forget about my intervention and then catch myself and put my phone away. Throughout the week I noticed that I felt awkward walking around campus without listening to music and having my phone in my hand. I ended up having to turn notification sounds on for the first time in a long time because when my phone isn’t in my hand or pocket, I can’t feel the vibrations.
My phone screen time showed significant decline compared to previous weeks, down 58% from last week, averaging 1 hour 21 minutes per day. Looking more closely at what apps were used the most, It was mostly Messages with a few minutes in Weather, GroupMe (for my work group chat), Sling (my work scheduling app), Calendar, and Calculator (which I use for statistics homework when I’m too lazy to get out my TI84). It seems crazy that even when I supposedly “wasn’t using my phone” I was still on it that much. It makes me think more about the U.S. “hologram” that Bageant warned about.
Overall this intervention allowed me to have a more productive week without watching Netflix and a more conscious of my surroundings without music as I walk or looking at social media. I got ready for school faster in the morning because I didn’t check my apps before getting out of bed. At a party I left my phone in my purse and had a better time because of it. I hope that I’ll continue to be more conscious of my technology usage from here on out; I think it’s good for me. But I’m not going to lie, it was nice to watch a relaxing episode while drinking my Sunday morning coffee at the end of the week.