Tuesday 20 August 2019

Switching Off September

So here’s the plan I mentioned here. I can’t guarantee it will add years to our lives, but then, I can’t say it won’t, either.
What if we all decided to switch off our technology at the same time? What if we all had a pact: a realistic deadline where we stopped sending emails etc.at say, 8pm? And to make it easier, we stopped looking at them at 8pm, too. The whole correspondence shebang could start again next morning, of course. We could continue using travel time to answer and send emails perhaps, but with the frisson of excitement that after say, 12 hours of frenzied activity on the networks, it would all then stop. Freeze.
Ok, I realise in this global economy that one woman’s 8pm is another man’s breakfast but we have to start somewhere, huh?
I know it’s only a dream. Some people wouldn’t like it, and it wouldn’t work if everybody didn’t sign up, I suppose. But perhaps if there was a significant groundswell, those who didn’t like the idea might, nonetheless, be open to the concept and accepting of the fact that fewer emails would be landing at night. Hey, they might even start to enjoy it, too.

Enter: Scroll Free September!
#ScrollFreeSeptember, the brainchild of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is about to enter its second year of encouraging people to take a month off social media, or rather, to do less of it. 
The key is to sign up to the option that is most relevant to you, and then sit back and enjoy a time rich September, musing how much calmer life would be if we could keep up this healthier relationship with our phones going forward. I’ve signed up to Night Owl, no surprise there, but have added in my own, ‘Correspondence Curfew’. In short, my Scroll Free September commitment is: Scroll and Email Free Evenings, and I can't wait.   
Day light hours? I’m going to reply to all correspondence as quickly as possible whilst employing a monumental effort not to begin my missive with being sorry for the delay. I shall respond with friendliness and professionalism but I will not, I repeat, not apologise. You see, by apologising, we’re implying we’ve done something wrong. But looking after our health, and not putting (albeit unintentional) burden on other people’s health, is a good thing and should be rejoiced. What I’m hoping is that people will lower their expectations of me.  And in turn, I will lower my expectations of them.
We’ll still love each other.
In fact, maybe we’ll love each other just a tiny bit more now we’re liberated of brain fog and showered in sleep. Will you join me? Will you endeavour to be less responsive, to keep people waiting and smile while you do it? Will you vow not to apologise for a tardy response to communication?  
Oh, this is the most rebellious I've been for a long time.
Perhaps you’re streets ahead of me on this one, already living long and uninterrupted evenings, the phone switched off way more often than it's on? If so, I'd love to hear from you. Tell me how you do it! And how it’s received?
Or maybe late night to-do list ticking is not your particular tipple, but scrolling - and in bed (please, no. Just no!) - is something you know you do but with that slightly nauseous feeling of discomfort I spoke of in my first post. There’s a place for you in Scroll Free September, too😊 More info here.
I think Scroll Free September is a wonderful concept. It focuses much of its attention on the potential benefits to young people – and I know my children are on Instagram until late at night and try as I might, they show no signs of stopping – but I think all ages are guilty of an unhealthy dependence on our phones. 

I’m not preaching. I’m guilty. I just want to live a long and healthy life and I want other people to be alive to do that with me.


  1. I love this! I don't think I'm a dreadful addict but even so, I happened upon the "digital wellbeing" function in my settings (was trying to do something else at the time, I hate technology!) and was amazed to see how many times i unlock my phone every day but then .... that I spent 5h35min on my phone yesterday. Okay so 80 mins was doing email, 29mins was playing words with friends and 28 minutes was reading the newspaper (so can I claim those as educational?) but still, that's CRAZY!
    I'm in Jax even though it's October, can we do it now instead?
    And how did you get on?????????

    1. Ahhh yes, I've got that on my phone. It'll say, 'Your screen time increased by 30% last week' - sharp intake of breath - and then I realise it was working on my iPad and I can breathe again :D But it is good for looking at how it's all broken down. I don't see much and think, ooops, I spent way too long doing that, BUT I do get annoyed with myself for flicking on my phone to check emails. WHY DO I DO THAT???? I don't actually want to see any emails (sorry peeps, nothing personal) I want to crack on with my work uninterrupted. Anyway, when I remember, I put my phone out of the office. That works ;) And yes, October? Why not! Do it...

    2. And yes, I've checked with the powers that be and Words with Friends - educational AND sociable, and reading the newspaper are all acceptable pursuits :)
      And, and, thank you, I WILL write a post on how I got on. I have just spend twenty minutes deleting spam that never used to get through and now frequently does, sigh, so I've lost my slot now...


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