Article, image, and YouTube video by Rain San Martin. Photo of Rain taken at Old Crown Coffee Roasters, by Sage San Martin-2020.
Welcome to the Unplug for 30 Days - Digital Detox Challenge!
Before we get started, I'll address the most obvious hurdle you will have. For those who use a computer or digital device in your day job, creative side business, or domestic home duties (which may include remote school, online banking, paperwork, important email) you are still able to participate in this challenge! Simply do your essential tasks which require computing, then follow as much of this digital detox challenge as you desire. We will also look at ways to minimize time online when utilizing the internet. Of course if you are able to completely abstain from computers over the course of the next 30 days, you will only more deeply experience the benefits of this cleanse.
Why I unplug 4 days per week and decided to go for a full 30 days.
Unplugging is a topic I cover regularly, as being unplugged not only aids in simplicity, it more authentically connects us to the Vintage Lifestyle. I recall a couple of years back when it dawned on me that society is one step away from living fully inside of a computer "Matrix." It's a sight that is now viewed as normal human behavior: Walking down the street with eyes fixed on a smartphone. Many Trans-humanists believe merging with computers is the next stage of human evolution, yet is this truly living? Imagine taking a plant which is designed to receive its ideal nutrients out in the open land with fresh rain water, natural sunlight, and soil was removed and placed in an artificial environment. Would these living conditions be optimum for a plants growth? Are man-made ingredients superior to organically grown natural foods?
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Another watershed moment for me was the realization that even as a conscientious user of technology with recreational use, I found myself using computers for every possible task. My goal was to stay ahead of the technological times, keeping my skills fresh. Grocery lists were made with digital spreadsheets, letters sent as email (though I formally mailed letters on occasion). Journals written in a digital document. Music written and composed in a DAW, Digital Audio Workstation. Art created in Photoshop. Every aspect of my "productive" work was executed on the computer when possible. After the iPad was released, and sites such as Pinterest and Social Media were a way of life, I found myself reflecting less. Being completely taken in by the moment, rather than the practice of silent introspection. My long-term memories were beginning to fade, and my ability to concentrate on long-form reading was also impacted. This was affirmed in the book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.
Now, rather than asking myself, How can I do this task on the laptop, iPad, or DAW? I ask, can this be done away from the screen? It should be noted that I periodically research relevant computer skills that are on the rise and make sure I stay sharp in this regard. Yet I have learned we can greatly reduce our usage while continuing to be technologically proficient. Not only this, we can be for more intelligent, reaching a greater level of potential when holistically caring for our minds and bodies. Sometimes to go forward, we must go back!
My personal challenge guidelines.
Feel free to adapt this challenge for yourself. Note: If you have a day job or are participating in remote school this is obviously essential computer use!
I will only use the computer for essential Creative Business work, and domestic tasks on plugged-in computer work days. For me this is Mon / Wed / Fri. Occasionally more days are needed.
My Essential computer use includes:
*Creative Business Work (I Will post to my Blog site and YouTube twice during this time. Recording on a DAW up to 3 days per week. )
*Minimal online shopping as necessary.
*Key home-school assignments.
*Household domestic tasks.
*Online bills. *Essential email.
*Radio, recorded music, or podcasts.
*Social Media (Unless you must for your job).
*Web surfing. *Ebooks. digital books.
*Using Pinterest or internet for recipes.
*Checking news online.
*TV, video, movies.
*If you have not already done so, consider switching your smartphone to a basic phone and have texting “blocked” by your phone provider!
*Use phone book when possible.
*Go to a live event (if possible..)
*Play a musical instrument.
*Write a physical letter.
*Use a cookbook.
*Write in notebook.
*Read physical magazines and books.
*Exercise outdoors or indoors in silence.
*Do housework and projects in silence, with the sounds of nature outdoors.
*Perform any tactile or creative work in the real world!!!
-May use a digital camera for photography.
The Impact of Being Unplugged
It was in 2015 that I first began to unplug one day per week. Gradually increasing it to four! Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays have been unplugged since 2018. Occasionally I have urgent desk work which requires my attention on these days, yet I remain unplugged from video, social media, music (unless a live performance) and so forth. And yes, I have a basic cell-phone with texting blocked. This lifestyle habit has always been in place.
I am finding the 30 day digital detox to have a much larger impact. As of this writing, I have only 9 days remaining. My long-term memory is increasingly sharpening. Senses are heightened. I can clearly hear songs replay in my mind. I would consider doing this on a bi-annual or quarterly basis. Doing my essential desk work 3-4 days per week.
A bonus goal of mine, is a news-fast. This means no newspaper or similar publication. I do read Whatzup (things to do in Fort Wayne) and Fort Wayne Magazine, yet these are not normal news publications. Recently Whatzup informed me about the 1970s / 1980s Tribute Band, Hairball, which I recently saw perform live at the 13-24 Drive-In of Wabash, Indiana. Amazing fun! A result of abstaining from the news for this extended period of time, has been that I feel more peaceful. The world seems less impacted by the events of 2020. Yet, I am looking forward to checking in with my favorite independent news sites, blogs, and YouTube channels. I'm also happy to view the festive fall Pinterest and Instagram posts once my 30 days is complete. Yet, as be before, I will not be consuming media more than 3 days per week.
If you haven't already you may view my video on this topic here.
Will you be participating in a Digital Detox? Best of luck!