I will not be going cold turkey. Technology is a part of my daily routines and during holiday times it is a treat to see updates from friends and family that I am unable to see in person. But I will be making an effort to step away from the tech that just passes time.
Some of us either are, or know someone who is, a bit compulsive about 'checking in.' It becomes a part of our busy lives, engaging or entertaining us in the midst of work emails and projects. A distraction from our pressing responsibilities is welcomed during the rush, but when work pressures ease and emails are answered with out-of-office notices, it might help to step away from the keyboards to truly enjoy our time off.
Time flies when you click links and flip virtual pages. And that is the root of the problem with turning mindlessly to tech on our work and school breaks. If your intent is to pass the time, then your smartphone, tablet or computer is very good at helping you break the boredom. But don't miss out on the chance to decompress, enjoy time with loved ones, exercise or simply allow your mind to daydream.
Take a walk
Try leaving the phone behind as you head out on a long neighborhood walk. It is a small bit of time, but an evening walk among Christmas lights or in the early morning light can bring peace that can sustain us when the January deadlines reappear.
For safety and security reasons, it is never a good idea to walk and text, or to close out the neighborhood's sounds with headphones. We now hear talk of distracted walking that leads to accidents. Most street robberies seem to be about expensive phones rather than the old targets of wallets or jewelry. Instead of worrying about what we might miss by leaving the phone at home, switch the focus to what we miss out on when we connect with technology instead of neighbors, wildlife and the sights and sounds.
Spend time with a non-e-book
Whether curling up by the fireplace with an epic or sharing a story with someone else, a real live paper book can seem especially indulgent. Escaping into another world without the distractions of social updates or breaking news is one of the benefits of print books. Reading words on pages is a very intentional act, giving the writer your full attention.
Experiencing a book with little ones, whether with lively language or wordless picture books is something that gives so much to both the reader and the read-to.
Reading aloud isn't just for parent and child. Many of my husband and my first dates were spent reading together. Joining in a shared literary journey is an incredibly intimate experience, especially on wintry afternoons.
Taking the time to step away from all of the screens in your life can help you put the 'noise' of daily life in perspective. Winter time can be a quiet time, whether outdoors or in the comfort of our homes. When it coincides with the end of one year and the beginning of another, we are given the chance to look at how we live our daily lives.
There is no virtue in being disconnected. Technology isn't an 'evil' or a vice. I love technology and how it connects me, but I want it to be a choice, not a habit.
At New Year's we think about how we want to improve our daily lives. We re-evaluate our approach to our personal finances, our health and our relationships. Taking a breather from all of the glowing pixels of our multiple screens gives you a chance to make sure that you aren't missing the big picture while staring at the small screens of our devices.