Productivity

I tried a Digital Sabbath and it was epic

Nicholas Taleb once said:

The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.

If he was an Entrepreneur living in Los Angeles or San Francisco he would know that the quote should be:

The three most harmful addictions are carbs, a monthly salary and Instagram.

I spend too much time online. Way too much time. Based on Space (Android, iOS, sometimes I spend more than 7 hours per day just on my phone. Yes, sounds a lot and you will be surprised how much time you actually spend without even realizing. Google Maps, Spotify, Gmail, Phone calls, calendar, etc etc really adds up. See, I didn’t even add Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram or Netflix.

To tell you the truth, as an Entrepreneur I don’t need an office but that means that I work a lot on the go (thus the glued phone on my hand). Nah, this is just an excuse! STOP FOOLING YOURSELF!

Time for a change

Last Saturday morning I decided to try a Digital Sabbath. What is that?

Digital Sabbath is a hipster way to stop using digital devices for a whole day.

My rules were simple: No phones, no tablets, no laptops and gaming devices. And definitely no Internet. Sounds easy right?

My morning started having breakfast in the backyard without having Netflix or YouTube in the background. And of course no music (no Spotify). Damn, I should have gotten an old fashion radio. Maybe order it from Amazon? Damn, no Amazon!

Then I finished building a gym in my house that I’ve been postponing for some time but hey, Instagram stories during the weekends are so juicy (update: no, they are not).

I could hear my phone ringing (I should have turned it off but now I am not allowed to touch it) and probably it’s my friends trying to coordinate for coffee, drinks, activities. I hope someone drops by so I can tell them about my sabbath. And I really want to be blasting Black Sabbath when they arrive but I don’t know any Sabbath songs on the guitar except Paranoid and I cannot go online to find tablatures. Yes, this is my personal Vietnam.

Fast-forward, one of my friends dropped by for coffee and propagates the news to our network. I could hear the laughs behind every blink-blink of the Facebook Messenger.

And now it is time for coffee! And has to be somewhere near by as we have a No Google Maps policy. Or at least I cannot use Google Maps. As I wonder if we should go outdoors or indoors I almost caught myself asking “Hey Google, what’s the weather today?”. Not today Google. Not today.

We arrive at the coffee place while chatting in the car without anyone checking Twitter, Facebook or Instagram as I have this profound energy consuming the social space around me and I say “coffee is on me”.

My Digital Sabbath made me realize how awesome technology is and how ingrained is in our everyday lives. And apparently you cannot even buy coffee at coffee shops without using a tablet.

The day turns into night and we go out for drinks and then food and I end the day reading a physical book which I had mostly as decoration as I do all my reading on Kindle.

Verdict

I loved every single bit (ha! puns!) of the experience. I really enjoyed waiting in line and not checking my phone and just watching people (checking their phones). It was a strange meditative exercise.

It actually seemed that people became more talkative and open. Who knew!

Am I doing it again next Saturday?

OF COURSE! But I will optimize it a little bit. This impromptu digital seclusion made communicating with friends adventurous (at least in the beginning) as no-one knew about my experiment. Now they will know that we just have to stick to plans we made from Friday and they have to help me get coffee. Oh and I will definitely buy a small radio (in your face Spotify).

- Sat 11 July 2020

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