Storm season in Tennessee brings high winds, rain, tornado threats and knocks out my internet twice a year. Usually when this happens, it’s mid-week and I frantically try to find a place to work. However, this last time, I awoke on Saturday morning and discovered no internet. And it was one of the most relaxing weekends I’ve ever had.
Lesson 1: Get Off the Phone
This was completely irrational, but I was afraid to use my phone much because of data usage. First, I never come close to my data limit – I use 300 MB a month lol – but I was fearful I’d reach my max if I stayed on my phone. Therefore, I only used my phone for texting and the occasional search. This was pretty amazing. Not only did I stay off social media most of the weekend, but the compulsion to check social media and carry my phone with me everywhere disappeared. I realized that because I’m connected to everyone, it doesn’t mean I have to be connected to everyone. At the end of the day, I really didn’t care how everyone spent their weekend, and I had a much more peaceful one.
Lesson 2: More Free Time
When I first realized the internet was out, I almost panicked. I immediately asked myself, “What am I going to do?” I can’t sit at my computer and work or just kill time? But then I remembered everything ELSE I needed to do, and none of those chores required the internet. Not only did I do almost everything on my house-stuff list, but I also had time to read, nap and exercise. Hmmm … I had time to do things for me and take care of myself. I didn’t feel like I was on a constant schedule, and my stress level was nearly zero. I even finished a massive project that had loomed over me for months.
Lesson 3: Freedom Is Priceless
That weekend I had work but no hard deadlines (thank goodness). It annoyed me that I had to postpone the work and rearrange my weekend, but I was thankful I didn’t have to sit at the computer all day. I had a choice in what tasks I wanted to do. Did I want to paint? What about clean a closet out? Or just chill and watch a movie, maybe go out? Because I wasn’t so tunnel-visioned about work, the world of weekend activities opened up before my eyes. The freedom I experienced when choosing what to do was priceless. It also made me realize that I don’t have to plan every day, which I’m very good at, and instead leave room for spontaneity. That weekend I finished a book and got half-way through another. It was the most I’ve read in two years.
Lesson 4: Time to Change
Have you ever watched a movie with someone who stays on their phone the whole time or gone out to a restaurant and they do the same? If so, you know how annoying it is and it makes you practice the same behavior. No internet forced myself and my company to just watch a movie and discuss it. Total concentration on one task … wow! I learned that when doing something with someone, whether it’s watching a movie or dining out, it’s time to put the phone away. I also realized that maybe I don’t need to accept as much extra work. I do not have to work every weekend in order to survive, so it’s time to start saying no. And I can do different projects that would result in money or even spend my time doing something more fulfilling, such as volunteering or trying new things.
The point is the internet is our best friend and worst enemy. We should use in moderation. I challenge everyone to turn theirs off for one day; you never know what you’ll learn!