Total Blackout: My Day Without Internet or Computers
I’ve been spending a lot of time on the computer lately. In fact, I spent two days marathoning Rhett and Link’s Good Mythical Morning, so my butt rarely left my office chair for a 48 hour period.
I got to thinking: even if I hadn’t spent an above-average time on the computer, I still would have been there a lot. After all, I’m a writer and I do all my work on the Internet.
And, you know, I watch a lot of cat videos…
What would happen if I shut off the computer and avoided Internet for an entire day? A few Sundays ago, I decided to find out. I would shut off my computer on Saturday night before bed and wouldn’t turn it on again until Monday morning. But first, I needed some rules.
Ground Rules for the Total Internet/Computer Blackout
- It has to be done on a normal day (though weekends are fine.) Going out of town doesn’t count.
- You have to keep all computers off. That means desktops/laptops/tablets/ebook readers, what have you.
- Since smartphones are like little computers, you can only use it for making calls and that’s it. No app use. No checking email. No Facebook. No nothin’. Not even the camera or clock.
- No using Internet through other devices. That means no Netflix streaming.
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? But, before you scoff at my plan, think about how much time you spend on the Internet. Heck, you’re using it right now!
I also decided to document the experiment with *gasp!* a pen and paper. Here’s photographic evidence of the pen and paper in action:
Transcribed below are my thoughts during my total blackout.
Blackout Commenced 12:30 AM July 7th, 2013
8:35 AM: I’m Awake. So…now what? I was so focused on the blackout that it was actually in my dreams last night. Every so often, I’d be like…”Can’t use the computer when I get up…” And then I’d fight a dragon or something.
8:45 AM: I always eat breakfast at my desk. Always. So now what am I going to do? I think eating in the living room is in order.
9:20 AM: In the end, I ate my strawberry breakfast in the living room while reading an issue of Better Homes and Gardens. In it, I learned that Sharpies were invented in the 1960s. Thus, I’m writing this entry with a purple Sharpie. I guess I didn’t need Wikipedia to learn something new.
10:12 AM: I have no idea what temperature it is outside, and I have no way of knowing.
12:02 PM: My mom and I just went for a run in preparation for the 5K race we’re doing this Saturday. [Editor’s note: I’ve since run the race. It was awesome!] Normally, I’d track the route with the Runkeeper app on my phone, but that’s against the rules. Instead, my mom tracked it, like she does too, and I’ve written down the stats to add on Runkeeper and Fitocracy tomorrow. Miles: 3.27. Minutes: 55.
1:31 PM: I’ve been SO Productive today, since I don’t have the Internet or computers as a distraction. Here are some of the things I’ve gotten done so far:
- Cleaned and organized my craft area.
- Picked out fabrics for the purse I’m going to make later.
- Cleaned part of my living room.
- Ran over 3 miles.
- Did my nails.
I’m pretty much never this productive by 1:30 in the afternoon. I feel awesome.
3:02 PM: To quote Brandon Flowers of The Killers in the song “Bones:”
“Wait ‘til tomorrow, you’ll be fine.”
6:13 PM: I made a purse! DIY Forever! And now I’m exhausted. Also, earlier, I went to Barnes and Noble for books and hit up a Redbox for a movie (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters). Now I’m off to a barbecue and I suspect it’ll be a lot easier abstaining from Internet while away from home.
8:50 PM: Here’s something I’ve noticed: Without computers or the Internet, I have no way of listening to music at home. I don’t have a stereo. I only listen to music (usually Slacker Radio) on the computer/phone dock/Xbox. It’s been a pretty silent day.
10:00 PM: When in doubt, read a book.
11:31 PM: It’s getting late. I’ll be turning everything back on tomorrow morning. Here are some parting thoughts before I go to bed:
- I use way more Internet in the first half of the day, I’ve realized.
- The second half wasn’t so bad.
- I waste a LOT of time on the Internet in general.
- It’s hard to know what time it is as you trawl the aisles of Barnes and Noble when you can’t use your phone to find out and you abandoned actual watches over a decade ago.
- I noticed a lot of little times where I couldn’t use the Internet. I wanted to make homemade hummus, but the recipe was on the Internet. I wanted to wind-down after my run, but couldn’t use the Internet.
- In fact, wasting time on the Internet is the main way I wind down. After events. During meals. When I wake up. Before I go to bed. When I take away all those events, I end up with a LOT more free time.
- This has been a very long day.
- I think I might do this every weekend, though I won’t be as strict.
Finally, to quote Liv Tyler’s character in Empire Records, quoting her father:
“There are 24 usable hours in every day.”
Let’s not waste so much of it.
Would you go a day without Internet or computers?
Do you think you’d be super affected, or would you not see much of a difference? What would you do with all the extra free time? Let me know in the comments! And if you do this, too, I definitely want to hear how it went.