SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Among the goals many have for 2020 is improving their time management, which also may mean disconnecting from your phone for periods of time, sometimes referred to as the “art of unplugging.”
Ten years ago, Marin County author and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, said she craved an escape from the constant bombardment of technology. So, she did something some people thought was a bit drastic. She called it a “Tech Shabbat” – eliminating screen time for 24 hours, one day every week. It’s a move that charged her family’s life.
“I think we’ve forgotten how to live without screens and I literally feel like I get my mind back and my presence back and I feel much more grateful on Saturdays,” Shlain explained.
From Friday night to Saturday night, there’s a lot of reading, chess playing, painting and listening to music at Shlain’s Mill Valley home. This all happens without a screen.
“Time slows down when you turn off the screen,” Shlain said. “I feel much more present to just notice life. So often we’re just staring at screens and we’re thinking, ‘How much time just went by?’ And we do a lot of things that we wish we had more time to do.”
Shlain explained we’re a part of a 24/7 society that doesn’t allow us to bored. She said this can hinder creativity and have a negative can impact on us mentally. Shlain says now is the time for people to reset their boundaries and get comfortable not being available all the time.
“Most people make themselves available and I think we need push-back on all sides,” she said. “I think employers should give people their weekends back. I think there shouldn’t be an expectation back that you’re responding.”
Shlain’s wrote a book on the practice – ’24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week’ – and calls the Tech Shabbat “liberating” and something she never thought she would need.
“When I founded the Webby Awards over 20 years ago, what we were so excited about in the early days of the web is that it was going to connect people and ideas in completely new ways,” she explained. “But, what I never imagined was that it was going to disconnect us so much from the people and the ideas right in front of us.”
If you’re looking to take part in a Tech Shabbat of your own, Shlain offered these helpful tips:
- Ask everyone in the family what they wish they had more time to do, then fill the day with that. Going tech-free for a day is not about the deprivation, it’s about replenishment.
- Get a watch.
- Don’t look at your phone right when you wake up – it allows your own thoughts to frame the day instead of the whole world.
- Ban phones at the dinner table.