Unplug and Go Screen-Free

Screen-Free Week is May 1-7, 2017

What is it?  “Screen-Free Week is an annual, international celebration when families, schools, and communities swap digital entertainment for the joys of life beyond the screen. Instead of watching TV, surfing the web, or playing with apps and video games, they read, play, think, create, get active, and spend more time with family and friends.”

As I was researching different national “holidays” that had to do with being more organized, one in particular stood out to me.  It was “TV Free week”, and I thought it would link well with being more productive in our lives.  However, when I looked up information about it, it turned out to be Screen Free is a much bigger concept.  It also was created with children in mind, not necessarily adults.  I was surprised at my own immediate resistance to the idea of being away from my (phone) screen for a week!  Once in a great while, I forget my smartphone at home, and spend the rest of the day habitually reaching for it to check texts and Facebook.  It really highlights how dependent I am on my phone, and how I use it as a distraction/procrastination device.

I imagine many of us would like to be more productive, to get more things done in a day.  As professional organizers who help people with productivity, we certainly recommend concepts such as not keeping your email open all day long at work if you know it will pull you away from bigger, more important projects.  This could apply to the projects we are doing at home as well, e.g. paying bills, setting up appointments, following up with people, etc.  If the first thing you do when you log in is to check Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, it could be an hour or more before you turn your attention to the thing you originally were intending to do!

I know that once I sit down on the couch at night to watch TV, I might as well give up on getting anything productive done, even minor chores.  Are you someone who watches a lot of TV?  According to Business insider via a 2016 Nielsen report, the average American adult watches 4.5 hours of TV per day (5 hours if you include DVR-watching time).  I think of all the things I could get done if I used 4.5 hours a night to work on house or self-improvement projects!

If you are trying to limit your children’s screen time, this article has some great tips.  You may even find a few to apply to yourself if this is something you struggle with!

Here are a few questions I am asking myself in order to try to be Screen Free for a week: 

  • Why am I picking up my phone (if it’s to check my work schedules/emails etc., then that is allowed; Facebook, not so much)?
  • What can I get done around the house or on my to-do list before I sit down to watch TV?
  • Could I plan ahead to watch a specific show or movie and then turn the TV off?
  • When I log into my computer, can I do the most important thing first before I open email or other distractions?
  • How can I connect with friends and family in a non-screen (text/facebook etc.) way?
  • Here are some suggestions from the organizers of SFW. (Suggestions)

Are you willing to give Screen Free week a try?  Let us know in the comments!

About Melissa Belliard

Melissa is committed to helping her clients find the organizing system that works for them, with compassion and creativity. She has been helping her friends and family get organized for years, and loves decluttering closets and cabinets, especially for empty nesters and folks who are downsizing. Melissa brings her 16 years of experience as a Human Resources professional to her work, including compassionate listening, leadership, and creative problem-solving skills.

Melissa is also a part-time massage therapist, and has raised two great kids. She loves being out in nature, listening to music and dancing, as well as bringing women together in community.

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