Some time ago, I wrote about the value of taking a weekly Tech Sabbath. A day away from text messages, e-mail and mobile apps improves our health and our human relationships. And anything that promotes health and good relationships improves our ability to communicate effectively.
So you can imagine my delight when, just a few days ago, I learned that there is a National Day of Unplugging. “This project was created by members of the Reboot network. Founded in 2002, Reboot engages and inspires young cultural creatives, innovators and thought-leaders who, through their candid and introspective conversations and creativity, generate projects that impact the world.”
Those who wish to participate pledge that, from sunset on the first Friday in March till sunset the following day, they will unplug from electronic communications and connect with friends, neighbors and family on a personal level. We will also get our eyes off various screens and connect with the world around us.
This year, the National Day of Unplugging begins on Friday, March 7, and I plan to participate. I will use the telephone because some of the people I want to connect with live too far away to visit in person. However, I plan to set up an automatic “out of the office” reply to incoming e-mails explaining what I’m doing and welcoming people to phone me. I also plan to text a few young people (who seem to find it difficult to communicate in any other way) to the same effect.
But those are only the negatives, the things I won’t do. The positives include my plans to take a walk outdoors on Saturday March 8 and also to make a point of phoning someone I haven’t spoken to in a long time.
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger
- Sit in a park or shopping mall and people watch
- Visit a local museum
I invite you all to join me for the National Day of Unplugging, and then, on the Saturday evening, do a bit of journaling about how you feel after your respite from technology. I’m betting you will find that you feel so good you will want to repeat some version of this Tech Sabbath much more often than once a year.