Technology allows us to tap into all sorts of things, including the future. What it doesn’t always allow us is the space to think freely, without interactions, interruptions and influences. Although it can report and retain information in real-time, living through a device is not actually living in the here and now.
There are many great things about the technologies that surround us in the modern world. Without the Internet I would be jobless. Without email I’d never had developed some of the close business relationships I now have across the world. Without a computer, tablet or laptop my daily tasks would take twice as long. There’s no denying that the tools we’ve created are awesome, but there’s also no denying that without them life can go on.
I wanted to explore if separation from technology can free the mind for not only creatives, but also all adults and youngsters alike. And if it can, how we can use separation in itself as another type of tool – a tool that gives a different perspective and outlook on life. To do this, I knew I’d have to disconnect myself from the digital world…completely.
When the perfect opportunity arrived for me to do so, I kept only a notebook and biro on me to log my thoughts, feelings and findings.
The opportunity was to stay at a Welsh Manor House with a group of 30 other people (made up of family and friends). It was a fairly unusual setting anyway and the stay lasted 3 days. The location helped my plan tremendously, as the closer we got to the house the more network signal we lost. Within minutes of arriving we realised there was no chance of getting 3G, 4G or even WiFi for that matter.
As time passed, my mobile phone became less of an important object to me and I began leaving it in the suitcase altogether, along with the laptop I’d taken “just in case”. At home, my iPhone is never further than an arm-stretch away, so I was surprised with how quickly things had switched up for me.
Without giving you a diary-like definition of my time out in the sticks of Wales (because I’ve already done that not one , not two but three times before) my days were spent walking in the countryside, playing golf, reading and mingling with the other guests around the dinner table.
Everyone else was without connectivity too, which gave me a true insight to what it would be like to remove technology at the dinner table, and at other important intervals during the day.
Here’s what I saw:
- Friends and family of all age groups coming together as one
- Youngsters enjoying nature and playing outside
- People engaged in conversation
- Food being thoroughly enjoyed
- Topical discussions being had (thanks to the provided newspapers)
- Exercise being embraced (as a way to keep occupied)
Here’s what I didn’t see:
- People leaving the room to take ‘important phone calls’
- Youngsters with their eyed glued to their devices
- Meal’s being rushed or combined with other tasks, like texting or watching TV
- Constant interruptions from devices (reminders, alarms, calls, push notifications, texts, social media etc)
- Business-related stress
- Couch potatoes
Here’s what I learned:
I learned that there’s some truth in what some technology critics say. I saw first-hand how removing it from the mix every now and again can free up space and time to do other things – important things like exercising, socialising and actually looking at the food your eating! I was sad to realise something that I’d never noticed before and that’s that technology, in some instances, does replace vital things.
Could you separate yourself from technology if it meant replacing it with exercising, socialising or simply having some fun? Why not try it for a day a let us know how you get on?