Could you do it?
Would you be able turn off all the electronic devices for the day? That is what is called for on March 6th each year since 2003.
It’s unfortunate that some years, the day falls on a weekday. It seems unlikely that many can participate on what is a normal work day. Still, if you plan ahead, postpone the celebration until Saturday or Sunday, then flip the switch.
Every month we become more connected to our devices for nearly every part of our lives. Phone calls and texting is but a small part of our phone usage. Our phones are now our calendar, our lists, our cameras and photo albums, our cookbooks, and our banks. Have you computed how much time you spend on your phone and/or your computer during an average day?
When was the last time you stepped away from all of them? Personally I can’t remember. Even if not working, ebooks and audiobooks call to me, Words with Friends flashes games waiting for me. The grocery list needs updating…
Will you try it for a day?
I’ve decided to try it. Will you join me? Take a day and power down. Get outside in the fresh air. Play a game with your children. Go on a picnic—inside if it’s still snowing. See what it was like not that many years ago, when the connections were not there.
How far should it go?
If you are really to unplug, should it involve more than your computer, tablet and smart phone? What about the television? Your music? How far would you take it?
For me it will mean all of the above. Thankfully I still have some books in paper form! Television isn’t an issue, but since email and writing call to me during the day, it looks like a notebook and a pen will be necessary.
Still it sounds good in a way. There will be some withdrawal pangs no doubt, but the quiet should be inspirational. The freedom of time will be interesting to explore. It will mean hours of time not staring at a screen!
Apparently the disconnect is restricted to the electronics that draw us away from family, friends, and nature. It doesn’t suggest we disconnect the hairdryers or the coffee makers thankfully.
Why bother? I can think of several reasons. The first is to slow down. We have come to expect instant connections. We read in short paragraphs. We switch pages within seconds. That can affect our lives offline as well.
Second, as mentioned above, is the freedom of time. Every activity we do requires time. If you caught my article here on Jaquo ,“How Often do You Check Your Phone,” you will understand what I mean. It is more than the time we might spend taking a call or sending a text. The time it takes to get to it, then get back to what we were doing before also adds up. That is true of our entire day. Rather like cooking involves prep time and clean up.
Another benefit is the quality of time you will have with your family or friends or both. So often you will see a couple or a family walking together, each on their own devise. I’m not sure that should even be considered family time! Of course playing games together is interacting, but it doesn’t leave much time for talking. Reconnect during an electronic disconnect.
Think of the time it would free up to meditate, strategize, and plan. That sort of alone time is often just out of reach, but invaluable to centering ourselves, to allowing us to clear our heads and focus. How lovely it would be to set aside at least a few hours to be alone with our thoughts.
How much energy might it conserve?
One last benefit would be so interesting to measure. Think of the power it might save if many of us disconnected on a large scale. Even if we did it only for 4 to 8 hours. I wonder how that would add up, don’t you? We would be conserving energy at the same time as enjoying the environment. Each electrical device varies, but I’ve read that a computer can use 160 kilowatts an hour. Lets take that down to 100 kilowatt hours to make it simple. That would make 2400 kilowatt hours in a day. Multiply that by the number of people who disconnect and you could have an incredible power savings. Disconnect the other devices, such as the television, and it would increase dramatically.
It makes me think how wonderful it would be if we unplugged one day each month. Or if it would make it easier, perhaps certain hours every week. Funny how a comparatively small step gets to be huge when many of us participate.
Your utility expense could be reduced as well. Electric costs vary dramatically for many reasons. Estimates to run a computer monthly range from $12 up into the $30 range. Unplugging may not seem like that much, but when you extend that to any other electronics it can add up to a worthwhile savings.
I hope you will try unplugging for the day, or for as many hours as you can. If we do it, perhaps the movement will grow and spread to the point that we do hear of remarkable benefits. If those benefits are simply on a personal level they will still be of great value.
Try a monitor of your own
If you are curious now to test your own kilowatt usage, pick up a monitor like this one. The one featured below is the current best seller, but there are lots to choose from. Some include more details, such as the P3 International P4480. It will monitor electrical costs as well as kilowatt hours. Handy to have one of these to do periodic checks.