Digital Dependence

I’ve been without Internet for the past five days. I would love to be able to say that I decided to take a digital sabbatical as a way to refresh myself. Unfortunately, due to storms and the joys of finicky technology, I was forced to unplug this week. (The picture above is the inside of our tech closet. My husband sure has fun with his toys.)

Whether it was voluntary or not, it really showed me how incredibly dependent I am on the Internet. I couldn’t do my typical blog reading, reply to comments here, do research of any kind, or even print out math worksheets for my kids. If I stood out in the rain I could occasionally get enough signal to download email to my phone. Pretty desperate, right?

I was reading Everett Bogue’s book, Minimalist Business: How to Live and Work Anywhere, and he talks about how much more productive you can be by only checking your email once a day. I’m embarrassed to admit this. I’m not sure I could do that, but I’d really like to try. I think I’ll try by sticking to a few specific times during the day to check my email instead of having it open and automatically checking for new email all the time.

It did make me wonder though, what did I used to do before I had constant online access? In fact, what did my parents do before the Internet and the complete dependence on the technology of today? No one felt like something was missing because no one was dependent on it yet.

These past five days have convinced me that I need to make time for our family to unplug more on a regular basis. I am hoping that choosing to do it would feel different than unexpectedly losing it. It’s time to examine priorities and plan some non-digital family fun.

Do you struggle with a dependence on the digital world? What steps have you taken to help battle it? I’d love to hear your personal stories and suggestions.

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