No-Modem Sundays

Mixed media testing

Aren’t you a bit tired of reading how bad it is to be tethered to your devices all day and seemingly not being able to do anything about it?

It’s like any habit forming or habit breaking climb. You name it: quitting sugar, quitting coffee, working out, cooking healthier foods, bringing your lunch to work, etc.

By the way, all those habits are on my to-do list of life changes that I want to make and are not happening.

But none of those habits are critical to my well-being as much as breaking this dependency on my devices.

You see, it bothers me that I can’t go anywhere without checking the weather, or google maps, if the place is open, busy or not.
It bothers me that algorithms spit things at me that confine me into a tiny universe.
It bothers me that I’ve become passive in my choices.

Here is a confession:

I have
two iPhones, an old 5s with a dead battery but I use as a remote and for Instagram.
two iPads, one air and one Pro.
an old iPod touch that is my alarm clock.
My Macbook air.

It stands to reason that I am constantly on one or another device.

I listen to podcasts all the time, when I walk the dog, when I fold laundry, when I ride the subway. If not I’m checking the news, or Instagram, or my email.

There is no space for creativity. Really, how can there be?

My husband is in this cycle too. As a researcher and professor he is extremely passionate about his subjects and so he reads, listens and consumes content as much as I do (he works with it though).

So what have been the consequences of this not-so-new situation?

  1. We either watch a movie or a series at night if we agree on a show, or…
  2. We are each with our iPads listening or watching our stuff… I listen to art documentaries, classes or mindlessly scroll through Pinterest.
  3. We become cranky when we need to do real life errands and chores.
  4. We recognize that this is not healthy and we come up with activities that in turn seem like a must-do.

For me it’s been tough because I am not a disciplined person. My husband is, he embodies discipline and he won’t share it with me!

During my social media break this summer, I recovered a bit of control over Instagram. I am checking it only about two times per day and I’m not posting as much.

But the rest has created a volcanic crater in my attention and my work.

Enter modem-less Sundays.

At first we tried to do this one Sunday a month and of course, without the internet, real life becomes super interesting again.
Now we are going modem-less every Sunday.

So how do we go about it?

  • We let our families know we are unavailable for the day.
  • We set our phones on airplane mode and we put them out of sight.
  • We allow ourselves to check five minutes in the middle of the day any text or Whatsapp messages in case there is an emergency. Especially since my family is in Mexico and they can’t get a hold of me by any other means.
  • and the most important part:

We unplug the modem.

This action is absolutely indispensable because it’s like having sweets, cookies or beer in the house. If it’s there you’re going to reach for it.

Having to re-plug the modem to access the internet via your computer or iPad creates a feeling of defeat and it’s easier to resist that feeling.

What happens during Modem-less Sundays?

Well, so much. Really.

First off, you talk, you make plans for the day, you don’t check the weather, you look out the window or step outside to check if you need a jacket.

Color pencil experiments

You do things you’ve been postponing for ages. Last Sunday I cleaned my makeup box, I normally use only three thing: BB cream, mascara and lip gloss. In my chaotic makeup box I had to dig for eight minutes to find those three things.

Also, you:

  • let your brain rest. No more content-hoarding. No podcasts, no voices, no news.
  • walk the dog without headphones and when you meet a fellow dog owner you actually engage in a bit of doggie conversation.
  • use art supplies that you forgot you had! (color pencils)
  • finish that commission that had been nagging at you during the week.
  • clean your space.
  • make a new recipe.
  • dig around your hundreds of notebooks and pull out ideas that you’d forgotten about.
  • go to the library and CHOOSE a DVD for yourself. Be your own algorithm. If you still have a player of course. I’m never getting rid of mine!
  • borrow a magazine and sit with a glass of wine to slowly read it.
  • Ultimately, enjoy the true slow living that we are all pinning images about but never getting to.

One day isn’t very long. You can try it one Sunday a month, then two until, if you’re motivated you can do it every Sunday.

Artist Workspace

Are you willing to try it? If you do let me know what you did with a day without internet. I’d love to know.