What would you do with a day free from technology?
I say free, but really, who are we kidding– we choose to stay plugged in seven days a week.
But should we be?
What would you do if you unplugged one day a week, a day entirely free from the digital world? What would happen?
For Tiffany Shlain, the result was unexpected– and it changed her life, and her relationships, in a big way.
24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week
Emmy-nominated filmmaker, speaker, and Webby Awards Founder Tiffany Shlain has added one more thing to her impressive resume: author, with the release of her new book, 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, published by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books.
In it, she talks about what happened when she decided to have her family start taking one day off of technology each week, something now widely referred to as a “Technology Shabbat” based on the Jewish Sabbath (and, just like the Sabbath, typically from Friday-Saturday night), and a term Shlain herself is credited with coining in 2008.
“Nearly a decade ago, I needed a drastic change. Within days, my father died and my daughter was born,” Shlain said in a post published on well-being platform Thrive Global. “These life-altering events made me think about the brevity of our time here, and question how I was spending it.”
After her father was diagnosed with brain cancer, she began turning off her phone to be present for him during increasingly rare lucid moments. Over time, she and her husband, U.C. Berkeley professor, inventor, and researcher Ken Goldberg began taking regular Technology Shabbats with their family.
Shlain says that simple practice has had an incredible impact.
The benefits of a Technology Shabbat
“Living 24/6 feels like magic, and here’s why: it seems to defy the laws of physics, as it both slows down time and gives us more of it,” Shlain says, whose seen countless benefits from the practice. “I laugh a lot more on that day without screens. I notice everything in greater detail. I sleep better. It strengthens my relationships and makes me feel healthier. It allows me to read, think, be more creative, and reflect in a deeper way. Each week I get a full reset.”
It even makes you appreciate the value of technology during those other six days in a way she never had, she says.
“Who would have thought technology could be more potent in its absence?”
Shlain says the effects of that one-day practice emanate into the other six days of the week, making it a powerful practice that has impacted her and her family’s entire life.
“Our daughters, Odessa (sixteen) and Blooma (ten), have done this practice most of their lives, and it’s shaped how they interact with technology in extremely beneficial ways,” says Shlain. “They enjoy their time off screens and look forward to it. It feels like a vacation every week. We look forward to it with the same anticipation, and it provides that same feeling of deep relaxation we get when we go away.”
That kind of deep relaxation can only come when you allow yourself to step away from technology and “reset” your state of mind. And this helps you take back control of your life instead of letting technology control you.
“Turning off screens and disconnecting from the online network helps us use tech in a way that prevents tech from using us.”
What would you do with a day off of technology?
Can you remember a time over the past few years where you, whether by force or intention, spent a day or more away from your phone or computer?
What did it feel like?
Many of us don’t realize how technology has slowly crept into our lives and gained hold of us. All things of great power take an equal measure of management and wisdom to keep under control, and technology is no different.
Technology has done wondrous things for us, and it serves us every day of our life, but you need to be intentional about how you use that technology, or else you risk allowing it to take control of you.
But by taking a Technology Shabbat, you’re putting yourself back in control of your life in an intentional way and opening yourself up to all kinds of amazing benefits that not only improve your life but the life of those you love.
So, what would you do with a Tech Shabbat? And if you’ve already tried or currently practice it, what impact has it had on your life?
Give it a try and let us know how it goes for you.