Internet Free Day

Every so often when people email me, they’ll be greeted with an auto-responder with “Internet Free Day” as the subject line.

The message I sent out yesterday went like this:

Thanks for sending me an email!
I’m taking a day away from the internet today. My wireless is
disabled, my to-dos for the day have been written out by hand, and my
various screens will mostly be turned off.
If you really need to get ahold of me today, please phone me. You may get my voice-mail, but I will be checking it at
regular intervals throughout the day.
Thanks,
David Pensato

 

I spend a lot of time online. We all do now. And especially with smartphones putting the internet into our pockets, there’s always something compelling to spend time with. Disconnecting from it all just for a day is incredibly refreshing and surprisingly productive.

It’s not a vacation—I still work, and often find it really effective. I plan the day before and write out or print anything I may need for the day. Then, I set up my auto-responder, turn off my computer, change my phone message and set my phone to airplane mode.

Just this simple act—turning the internet off for the day—feels like a revelation every time. Our brains really are increasingly tied to hyperlinks and the pings of social networks and the instant access to information that we might not otherwise bother to look up. When you turn that off for the day, your brain (well mine, anyway) finds different patterns and different ways of doing things.

It can spend some time with a single thought.

Sometimes, I cheat and poke in here and there. When I do, the effect isn’t quite the same, and I know I’ll need to schedule another before long.

If you haven’t tried this before, I highly recommend it. And before you say you can’t possibly because your client/boss/colleague won’t like it, consider this: I’ve never gotten a single negative reaction to this auto-response.

If you give it a try, let me know. I’d like to hear about what you found.

 

 

2 Responses to ‘Internet Free Day’

  1. It is incredibly refreshing to disconnect, but I’m also disturbed at how good it feels to plug back in. Every summer I go on a week-long canoe trip, and being unplugged does a world of good for my creativity, among other things. But the addiction of connection is strong, and it feels great to get back online once I’m back. I’m always take note of that emotion, and find it surprising. I should try your approach of mini-vacations, and doing it more often than once a year!

  2. Simple as this post sound… I don’t know why but I am so afraid of missing out.
    I did this for 2 days few months ago and it was awesome. I am so easily distracted and can’t get stuff done. Or ruin a good conversation by grabbing my phone because it vibrated. But being free away from all this… I had the best conversations, no distractions, and I paid more attention to my surroundings.

    I plan on doing this in few weeks to disconnect for a day.

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