Blair and I have started an experiment where beginning every night at 8, we disconnect from the Internet. No e-mail, no web surfing, no texting. The goal is to gradually move the disconnect time back to where we're spending the majority of our evenings technology free. (Except for TV. We're not giving up TV. Like, ever.)
We're only a few days in but already seeing positive results. Personally, I feel calmer and more centered. I don't worry about leaping up to check a text or to post something clever on Facebook. My time feels more my own.
I do find myself frantically checking e-mail or scanning Facebook at 7:45, 7:50 p.m., but it's actually a relief when the clock hits eight. I push back from my desk, turn my phone volume down (we're still accepting calls at this point) and turn the lights out in my office for the evening.
It's a little scary the pull technology has on me. When a commercial comes on or I finish reading a chapter or we take a break from packing, my instinct is always to go check my phone. And it's a strong instinct, an actual physical urge. I've read that constantly checking e-mail and Twitter and updates provides our bodies with an adrenalin like buzz and I believe it. I really think my body/mind is in a form of detox as we attempt this disconnect.
The good news is that I'm going to come out stronger on the other side. What the last four days has shown me is that there's just not anything that vital going on at 9 or 10 pm on the Internet that requires my attention. It--whatever that "it" may be--can wait until morning.