Experimenting with Digital Detox for 30 days
Since 1st of October I have not used any computer, screen or gadget in my bedroom. Except a pen and some papers, everything has been kept out.
I have been feeling so tired all the time that I wanted to quit everything and run away. I knew that I could not take a vacation (work!). It was this feeling where everything seems boring, meaningless and at times - repulsive. I could work, but either too slow or too little. This state is no good when you have more work piling up all the time.
In the last week of September, I decided life was getting out of hand, and I must do something. I came up with the following set of rules:
- No computers in bedroom
- Sleep whenever, but enter the bedroom latest by 23:00
So, I moved many things to study room (yes, I have one of those): phones, chargers, laptops, books etc. Then I specifically took one book, 50 blank pages and a pen to bedroom.
I followed these rules strictly. I would not pick up phone no matter what after 23:00. I started journaling and sitting doing nothing for hours in bedroom. After initial few days, I liked it so much that I took all the watches out as well to make the room more silent.
First problem was that I wanted to watch videos lying on the bed. No more of that! For a while, this really bugged me. I had to reduce the crap I watched (consumed). Reading books other than the one in bedroom was not easy either. Sitting on chairs entire day caused irritation eventually, and I could not read. To overcome this, I started going on terrace (yes, I got one of those too) at around dawn. Realization was the absence of feeling of open sky for a long time! I would read, observe birds, make sketches or play with the cat.
I think I am going to have to put some sort of furniture in the study that allows me to relax - perhaps a recliner. In fact, I have a list of things I will have to change in there if I want to get more things done.
The routine led to schedule changes. Sleep, wake up and work timing changed. I could focus more within 10 days, although I would not work after 18:00. I could finish tasks as scheduled. I am not saying I could work properly full time, just that I knew how much I could focus and work. Physical separation was key I believe.
I mentioned before that I had been writing a daily journal. For the first week, this was the only part I looked forward to during the entire day! Loved it. I wrote 10-20 pages of random thoughts daily. When the outburst resolved, I would sit doing nothing for a couple of hours during which emotions of weariness, compulsion to do something, jolts of happiness flowed by. A distinct feeling of absence of pressure perhaps. Eventually journaling reduced and I could sit happy. Knowing nobody is going to disturb - no phones, notifications, people - really helps at times.
I still haven’t fully recovered, I am going to take a vacation when I can, but at least I can wake up in the morning excited, and go back to bedroom knowing I won’t be disturbed anymore. I am continuing this for November, and perhaps more. I have let go of the single book, and carry whichever book I happen to be reading now. That is the only change.