After a long day of meetings, during a recent stay at a hotel, I neglected to connect my phone to the hotel wifi. I changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth and crawled into bed. After setting my alarm for the appropriate time to be ready for the next day’s events, I rested my head on the pillow and had a full night’s sleep.
When I awoke, I was amazed! I hadn’t been awakened in the night by all the notifications my phone usually informs me of throughout the night. What I discovered was neither my data or wifi were connected. With these two simple disconnections, I rested throughout the night, uninterrupted. And you know what? The world kept turning. Nothing catastrophic within my control had changed overnight while I rested and didn’t get notified.
Since that night I have made it a habit to turn off my wifi connection when I go to bed. All the apps continuously competing for my attention are silenced for the night, email waits until I connect to the world in the morning. I leave my phone on, but only as a phone. Texting and phone calls come through in case of an emergency situation.
This simple change not only makes my phone battery last longer, but my battery as well. I sleep better. Somewhere in the development of technology we have lost the art of disconnection. It’s ok to not be immediately available to everyone all the time.
My husband and I have also taken this a step further. While we both have smartphones, our data remains off most of the time. We have wifi at both our jobs and at home. While other people pay an enormous amount for data charges and plans, we share a 2GB plan.
We turn data on to check things when we have time and can devote our attention to the notifications, rather than being tied to whatever pops up at the moment. It’s a change that has been beneficial to our marriage and family.
When we go out to an event, we aren’t interrupted by notifications. Most can wait. When we are out and about we use our phone as a phone, texting and phone calls. It’s hard to devote your attention to your family, your spouse, or yourself when your phone is continuously going off. It forces you to react. Disconnection allows time to refresh, to refocus and to focus on what’s important.
I am active on social media, respond to emails, am a part of the executive team of a primarily online women’s ministry and many other things that require my time and attention online. I see the value and importance of our connectivity. I just want to be sure that it doesn’t control me. I want to live my life proactive and strategically, not reactive and hurriedly.
What about you? Is it time to consider joining me in one or both of these disconnections? I would challenge you to try it for the month of November. It might make a difference in your marriage, family and possibly even your finances.