…or two

If you’re like me you work with technology for a good part of your day every day you work. Then you go home and work, or chat, or play video games or watch TV. I know on most days I check my e-mail about 5 times a night after work. I use the excuse that it’ll help me keep up.

What a joke! What it does is simply cut into my leisure time! ;)

In an effort to maintain my balance I’ve taken to trying (yes, trying, I’ll admit to not being 100% successful) to spend a couple nights a week and at least a day on the weekend away from the computer, at the very least, and away from most technology all together. When I’ve been able to do it it’s been great. I’ve been noticing that the next day I’m much more creative and highly energized. As well, despite the fact that I do have a bit of catching up to do, it feels like I’m more productive overall. Could be just a coincidence, but perception is reality right?

This also has allowed me to take care of quite a few long-standing to-dos and want-to-dos. You know those things you just never seem to find the time to take care of? It’s pretty amazing at how much you can get done in the absence of those things that are in place to help you get things done and make your life easier.

Give it a try. I’d love to know how it works for you.

18 Comments on Have a Low-Tech (or No-Tech) Day

  1. Kuz says:

    Since “Reading blogs” is probably not on everyone’s to-do list, time away from the computer is inevitably going to be a win. And that “catching up” feeling is just your brain working at a faster speed. What if we worked that fast all the time?…

  2. Brian says:

    This is one reason I resist using computer-based productivity apps for things I’m likely to do away from the office.

    I don’t want to *have* to be at the computer in order to know what’s on my list.

    I still spend a lot of time at the computer, but I like it to be a choice, not a requirement.

  3. Dan says:

    Does the lawnmower count as technology?

  4. velvel says:

    Been doing it for years. It’s called the Orthodox Jewish Sabbath.

  5. Keith says:

    Kuz — If I worked faster my head would explode.

    Brian — True.

    Dan — I think we can agree that the lawnmower is low-tech enough…

  6. JLP says:

    That’s a good idea. Maybe I should try it. I spend a lot of time at night tracking my traffic, checking comments, and leaving comments on the blogs that I follow. I need to spend more time doing stuff for the family and reading the many books that I need to read.



  7. lifehack.org says:

    Minimize the use of technology will increase creativity?

    Keith over To-Done has suggested that we should try on the day or two to decrease the usage of technologies. He mentioned that without tech on the weekend to “recharge” yourself. He found it more energized after avoiding tech for a day or …

  8. Ken says:

    Heh, my lawn mower doesn’t sport a G5 or AMD processor so I think we’re safe there.

    Getting away from tech is probably the bane of most people today.

    My friend uses a paper planner, and I thought he was nuts. But now that I think about it, I think he’s on to something. I don’t have to recharge the damn thing and worry about it crashing.

    Only problem with paper is there is no backup, so a compromise would have to come, but a break from tech is a good idea.

  9. monkeyinabox says:

    This is along the lines of people who go on vacation and take their computer, cell phone and PDA with them and keep working. How is that really a vacation? Simply put, you do need some down time. I think that works with the GTD mentality of not constantly checking your email and being distracted by it. There’s no reason you can’t be productive, without being connected all the time. It also makes it easier to focus on stuff you want to get done that has nothing to do with the computer.

  10. I hardly use my home computer for more than checking email. Instead, what eats up my time is lots of reading and watching TV. I might spend more time on the computer if I had a laptop – my computer chair is not that comfortable, and all I want to do when I get home is kick back and relax on the couch (with a cat in my lap). I’m good at relaxing. :)

  11. Paul Grover says:

    Computers are like anything else; they can be great in moderation, but can be extremely dangerous in excess.
    Turn that sucker off and spend a BUNCH of time around green things.
    Love your children. Kill your TV.
    Video games are drugs.

  12. Betsy Schwartz says:

    I am enjoying your blog, thank you!

    I’m not an orthodox Jew but we started celebrating Shabbat when my daughter was very young. We light candles on Friday night and turn off the computer and TV until sundown Saturday. We use electricity and drive, but don’t do any sort of chores or errands. We have a relaxed dinner and spend Saturday doing things together.

    It is a huge gift to be able to take a real holiday from all this stress once a week. It’s hard to do, and we don’t always succeed in not worrying about the workweek stresses. But worth it, especially if you have family. What is all this work FOR, if not to give us time to enjoy our lives?

    I believe that we’re all entitled to take one day a week OFF.

  13. Craig Kennedy says:

    I wrote an article about going tech free recently.

  14. Kyle says:

    Mmm, I should do this. I really don’t want to do it, but maybe I’ve been letting things get a little too out-of-control. One thing’s for sure, my wife will appreciate it.

  15. PC-Turnoff says:

    Anybody can Benefit from a Little Turnoff

    We don’t expect most of the working world to grind to a halt and go outside and play in the sun for a full week. (We can hope though! Can’t we?)

    But there are intelligent, possibly overscheduled people, who realize turning it all off for a while h…

  16. I wondered something similar here, basically just thinking that in some cases it might be better for getting things done to have tools that can’t do anything. My regular computer just has too many possible distractions for me to avoid jumping around and doing nothing for a day.

  17. Mike Brown says:

    One of my long-time rules has been to turn off the PC at 9 pm so I can go through my prepare-for-bed rituals (brush teeth, read, etc). I usually go past it, though. I have a Macro Express macro that goes off at 9 om to remind me; at one time I had a program that would shut the computer down unless I interrupted it within 30 seconds.

    I find that my brain just buzzes with electricity for some time after the computer is turned off. It takes awhile to come down.

    Take a look at the Weekend Luddite (http://everydaysystems.com/weekendluddite/): no computer on Sat/Sun between breakfast and supper. When I find myself compulsing to check my email, I know I have a problem. This weekend routine is pretty easy to remember and beneficial to me.

  18. glad to see i’m not the only one feeling nuts trying to manage my “techno-life”. I just finally repaired my home family PC, so now I’m up to 3 home PCs, 3 Tivos (one hacked, not online), and of course, my work laptop. Sheesh! I’m feeling like a deserved “disengagement” from all things electronic is in order … so off to hear Lucinda Jones this evening in Seattle. Cheers, and thanks

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