Having A Low-Tech Day

low-tech day

One of the gifts of the first year of COVID is having the pace of my life slow. But one of the drawbacks is that the amount of technology I use daily, by necessity, has increased tenfold.

I’ve always been a daily tech user: I work in IT and I am fascinated by tech in everyday life. I’ve always been an early adopter, and my life is technology driven. In other words, I’m a nerd.

A No-Tech Challenge

About five years ago I started using Sundays as technology-free days. No computer, no games, no phone, no tablet, no e-book. It was a great time. I was able to lift my head from the screens and focus on other things. The day always ended with me feeling more relaxed.

I began to think about tech-free days again when a contest was announced to challenge two people to go tech-free for a day. There was quite a bit of prize money involved. I entered the contest and began wondering if it be done in COVID isolation. I decided it could – for a day – but as a long-term plan would need modifications.

Choosing My Day

Since I have to work, spending 8 hours on a screen isn’t in line with a tech-free day. Saturdays and Sundays remain. Sundays are generally a slower pace, but otherwise the days are equal.

But neither could be tech-free. My Saturdays include my weekly touchstone meeting that I have been attending for over a decade. Sundays include church on Zoom, social time with with my best friends and then video calls with my mother and accountability partner.

After evaluating both, I decided that Sunday would be the better day. Given that it is mostly phone calls, and the day doesn’t have large blocks of time free, and lends itself to less need for distraction.

It Doesn’t Look The Same

Tech-free days aren’t possible for me these days. But I can do a low-tech day – one that involves only the tech necessary for that day. Any tech that could be put off – like shopping – would be out of limits.

So with the exception of church and the phone calls, Sunday would become the low-tech day.

What Is Low-Tech?

Low-tech means that I avoid using computers, phones, tablets, e-readers, televisions and games unless it is absolutely necessary. So what is necessary?

  • Zoom for church. Until we open up again, this will be the default
  • Facetime for the socialization. My group is almost fully immunized, with the exception of one teenage daughter. We will be starting in-person meetings soon.
  • Duolingo. I refuse to give up my streak time, so I will continue to do minimal Duolingo (one lesson) on Sundays.

What Isn’t Necessary?

Since I started making exceptions, it was tempting to put more on. Here are the things I rejected:

  • Comics. Reading the comics has been part of my Sunday morning routine since I was a child. We don’t subscribe to the newspaper, so I will be giving this up. I can always read them Monday.
  • Sudoku. I’ve started doing sudoku puzzles as part of my morning routine. I find it wakes my brain up. However, I don’t have to do them on my iPad. It’s faster, yes, but doing them in a book makes them more challenging.
  • Ebooks. Sundays are often my day for leisure reading. I’ve gone back to paper books for Sundays, most of which are found in the Little Free Library in the neighborhood.

Results From the First Three Low-Tech Days

I wish I could say this was easy, but it hasn’t been. On all of the days, I have found myself with my phone in my hand at various points.

I’ve had to leave my phone in another room (with my iPad and Kindle) to make sure it isn’t a default activity.

I have also consistently forgotten to fill out my bullet journal on Saturday night. This means I have to use my tech to do it on Sunday morning – otherwise necessary things get left behind.

All in all, it has been a good experiment, although difficult. I find that I am more relaxed on Sunday evenings, and that I am less stressed when I begin the work weeks. I have also rediscovered lazy days without guilt. And that is a good thing.