Could you go a whole month without using your smartphone and checking your email?
Canadian author and TEDx speaker Christina Crook decided to say goodbye to all technology, leading her in a journey that resulted in her newest book, The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World.
“I went without tech for a month in order to discover what kind of person I’d be without it,” says Christina, “Stepping back from technology puts it into its proper perspective. I found a quietness of mind that I’d been hungering for, and I found my closest relationships deepening in a way that I hoped for.”
We had the opportunity to interview Christina and ask her about her experience of saying goodbye to technology. Here’s what she had to say:
1. What compelled you to give up the internet for 31 days?
I had grown tired of the clamour of the Web: the anxiety-inducing deluge of my inboxes, websites and social media feeds, sapping what creativity and energy I had left. I felt stretched too thin. So, one January morning I ditched the Internet for 31 days, longing to discover what kind of person and parent I would be offline.
2. How difficult was it for you to adjust to not using internet for 31 days? Didyou miss it at all?
The first couple of days were bumpy, like any detox. I had the nervous twitch to go online. The editor in me wanted to make some tweaks to the blog I’d set up to let people know about the experiment, but I had to let it go. The whole experiment was an exercise in letting go of my go-to time fillers. I did miss out on some social events only organized online, and I missed out on a lot of information, but the good far outweighed the bad.
3. Did you find it hard to communicate with people or keep up with the latest news?
I kept in touch with people by phone or in person. I got news from other people, the radio, and newspapers. And I kept finding myself thinking: how much news can one person keep up with? Instead of 140 character news bites, I sunk my teeth into longer-form news stories from the weekend paper, reading them from start to finish, thinking them through, talking about them with friends and family.
4. What would you suggest for others who are thinking of disconnecting?
I would suggest that it’s actually about RE-connecting to things that are truly life-giving. Face-to-face time with others, getting out into nature, going out to a show, hanging and being present to your kids. Start with one day completely off-line, then continue the habit weekly. It is a reset. It shows you that you don’t miss out on much when you step away, and that you are not the sum of your tweets, shares, and likes. You are more.
5. Did you discover that you had much more time on your hands since you were disconnecting?
Yes. We all lament how busy we are, but we are filling what margin we have left with online checkins. Ditch social media on your phone. Those smartphone check-ins can add up to more than an hour a day that could be spent getting to those things you never think you have time for.
6. Were you able to work more efficiently and find that you were less stressed out than you previously were when you were checked in to the internet?
No question. Multi-tasking isn’t possible. When our minds are constantly shifting from one thing to the next, we do not settle into deeper lines of thinking. Close the laptop. Pull out a piece of a paper. Give yourself over to it, and see what happens next.
7. Are there any other thoughts or comments that you would like to tell our readers?
Our gadgets are centred in ease, but the truth is: we find meaning in more difficult things. Running a half-marathon, giving birth to a child, restoring a friendship, or hitting a personal or professional project out of the park. Each of these things require imagination, passion, and planning, and once the blood, sweat and tears are washed away, we are left with the solidity of our achievement. We find meaning and joy. Easier things simply don’t give us this satisfaction.
The Joy of Missing Out is available for sale online at jomobook.com but you can win a copy of the book for yourself and for two of your friends by following the directions below.
Congratulations to Ava who has won 3 copies of Joy of Missing Out!