In the real world

Well, completing the Digital Detox was nowhere near as challenging as I thought it would be. I am an active-duty military officer currently deployed in the Middle East, and have used my smartphone routinely to keep in touch with my family back home and to send and receive e-mails. What did switching off the iPhone for 48 hours do for me? Well, first of all it made me better organised and actually made me use my time more effectively. I don’t yet have a Punkt. MP01, so I used an old Nokia phone during the 48 hours. It doesn’t do much more than make calls and send texts, and both options are expensive when using from here back to home. No WiFi and free WhatsApp! I was still able to be contacted by my work colleagues, but for calling home I had to consciously open up my trusty MacBook and make a FaceTime call. This forced me to be more organised, but also to focus on the call, as this was my specific purpose at that moment, not an additional activity on the side owing to the presence of a smartphone. It also made me bundle dealing with e-mails etc. into a specific time, rather than as and when they arrived. This meant I wasted less time dealing with spurious e-mails as these were simply deleted – you don’t waste time on trivia when you are focussed.

 

The other side of the coin is interaction with other people. It makes you realise how rude we have all become with our phones. For example, when watching the final Saturday of the Six Nations rugby championships, I noticed that, during breaks in the action, those with smartphones were straight onto their devices to see what the virtual world was up to, whereas those without would discuss the game with each other – that’s right, talk and interact together. It made the whole thing a pleasanter and more sociable experience.

 

All-in-all, I really enjoyed the experience. A timely reminder that we actually LIVE in the real world, and that is where we should focus our attention. Of note, I am typing this on my laptop, not my phone. I am using the old Nokia more and the iPhone really just for WhatsApp calls home. So the digital detox has actually weaned me off the tech – hopefully permanently!

 

David Tucker

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