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As follow up to my last post, I’m happy to report that I successfully survived my first National Day of Unplugging (NDU).

What does a tech addict do without the Internet and gadgets she loves? First of all, she takes deep breaths and then looks around and enjoys the non-digital things in life, such as the outdoors and talking face-to-face with friends and family.

When I turned off all my electronics on Friday night, I was excited and ready for the challenge, but, as time went on, I got more and more anxious about what I was missing. I couldn’t stop thinking things like: What’s happening on Facebook? Who has texted or called me? How many emails are in my inbox? How many games of Draw Something are waiting for me? Sure, I warned my Facebook friends and the Twittersphere that I was embarking on a 24-hour tech detox, but I was still had a great deal of anxiety knowing that I wasn’t connected.

The biggest surprise was realizing how much more time I had in my day when I cut technology out of the picture. I took a long walk, fed ducks, read a paperback book, did some crafts, baked way too much food and spent face-to-face time with friends and family—all things I usually don’t have time for when my weekends are bogged down by checking my phone, watching movies and updating my Twitter feed.

I’m glad I participated in the National Day of Unplugging. Sure, 24 hours didn’t cure my Internet addiction, but it helped me realize that taking breaks from technology can be beneficial.

The purpose of the NDU is to take a break from the fast-paced lives technology has created for us and enjoy the natural beauty that’s around us including family, friends, the community and, of course, nature. And that’s exactly what I did.

Since unplugging for 24 hours on a regular basis isn’t realistic, Weber Shandwick client and NDU creator Reboot offers the following tips:

• Shelf your phone when you come in the door at night and leave it there until after dinner.
• Try to check your email only once a day during the weekend.
• Go to the café with a newspaper or book and leave your phone and computer at home.
• Build a cell phone stack. At dinner, have everyone stack their phones on the table – first to pick up the phone pays the bill!

Technology is a good thing. I promote it every day at Weber Shandwick. But the NDU was a good reminder that it’s also important to turn off technology and tune in to your friends, family and the community.

Image courtesy of functoruser.

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