Digital Detox: mission failed | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:31 PM, January 22, 2020

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Digital Detox: mission failed

My life does not necessarily revolve around the internet. Like most people, I enjoy the occasional YouTube and Netflix. As far as Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit are concerned, I enjoy scrolling through memes and posting a picture every now and then. If there is one app I would consider to be an extension of my soul, it would be Spotify.

As an ambivert, I prefer the company of very few people. Otherwise, I enjoy the solitude and entertainment of the interweb. I find this more comforting, as I am not required to make small-talk and I can always excuse myself from real life conversations by saying “I’m watching a really important video which requires my full attention. Talk later.” Overall, the internet acts as a wall between my world and the wilderness outside.

I watch videos or go through my feed while sipping on my evening tea; my evening tea lasts for nearly four hours. Now that I reflect a little on my internet habits, it certainly has become somewhat ritualistic for me, to watch either Comedy Central or The Big Bang Theory before bed. Maybe my occasional binge watching is more frequent than I thought. But I have not faced a moment where I found myself glued to my phone when I was among friends or family. I like to think I have myself in check.

However, despite being a confused millennial, I wholeheartedly know that I can give it all up when I want to, I just choose not to. Never (until now) have I been incentivised to not use the internet, and so, I decided to start a week-long journey to prove that the internet does not control me.

The Challenge

I went to office one fine day, and it was when my boss mentioned an assignment regarding “Digital Detox” that he looked at me. I like to believe that I had willingly taken this challenge and not had it imposed upon me.

I felt my grave beginning to dig itself, but I was determined to not use any social media platforms, including Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify, and only check my emails and use my university’s computer lab for studying the next seven days.

I am not entirely sure why I agreed to go on this venture, with nothing to gain even if I had made it though. But I had to prove myself and I was confident.

Log: Sunday

I am doing good. I have not checked any notifications, nor am I tempted to watch videos online. I also found a loophole in this challenge; I need to refrain from the internet, not necessarily my laptop. I have resorted to watching the series and movies I had previously downloaded.

People exaggerate how the internet distracts you from your surroundings. For me, as the day went on, it was not as though the sky looked bluer or the grass greener, nor did I suddenly start making more conversation. In fact, I think I spent more time staring at my phone going through my downloaded playlists, playing games, and clearing out my gallery. Avoiding unwanted attention was not difficult either, I just pretended to be busy on my phone.

I do not know what all the fuss was about. This challenge is a piece of cake.

Update 1: My elder sister reminded me that WhatsApp is also a part of the social media regime. I responded with “WhatsApp does not count.” I think today was a bust. I may have slightly underestimated this challenge. But I can always try again tomorrow.

Update 2: My loophole has terribly backfired. I was not supposed to use devices. Abort mission (?)

Log: Monday

I think time is slowing down, or worse, going backwards. Is this how Barry Allen feels when he runs at the speed of light?

It is time to get serious and gear up. I have started reading Grimms’ Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Nothing like a date with a good book to keep me company.

Update: My book has backfired. I wanted to sleep but also keep on reading. So, I listened to an hour of the audiobook on YouTube...and then, I may have accidentally watched a few BuzzFeed videos.

I was doing okay until this moment of weakness. However, I do not think this is my fault. I think it is my sister’s. She does not read to me anymore, which is why I had to resort to YouTube audiobooks.

Log: Tuesday

This challenge is helping no one. What am I trying to prove to my boss? It is not like I have stopped procrastinating and suddenly started being extra productive. I do have more time. But I do not know what to do with all this free time.

Update: I watched season 4 of Riverdale on Netflix.

Log: Wednesday

Last night I told myself, “It’s okay. There’s always tomorrow. You can try again.” I feel like this “tomorrow” I speak of will never arrive.

I behaved today. I kept calm, drank lots of coffee, and finished reading my book. Well, I behaved for most part of the day. Everyone needs to understand that a routine is difficult to break out off, even if that routine means watching hours of Netflix and waking up groggy the next morning or not sleeping at all.

I thought that I had enough self-control to allow myself to watch only one episode of Mindhunters. I ended up watching the entire first season. Everything is possible when you lose your sense of time and your will to sleep.

It is okay. I still have three more days to redeem myself.

Log: Thursday

Today is my day. I did it. No accidental WhatsApp messages or treating myself with Netflix. As I was watching Mindhunters all last night and went directly to class around noon, I came back home and drifted off into a deep slumber. I slept till the next morning. This gave me zero chances to feel bored, nor did I have the energy to convince myself to use the internet. Victory!

Log: Friday

I have nothing to do. Even reading more books would require me to use a device and download the e-book. What now? I cannot roll around in bed forever.

On the sixth day, this challenge now makes no sense to me. Reality is a blur. Is the seventh and final day worth it? Do I really want to be bored today? This journey was supposed to de-stress me, but I feel the exact opposite.

I think I will end the challenge here. It was a good ride.

So, did I succeed? No. But I will tell my boss that I did.

What did I take away from this challenge? Trying to distance myself from the internet did not do me any favours. I felt like I had too much time and very little to do. I was not more social, nor did I procrastinate less or sleep timely.

Will I be doing this again? Probably not. That is unless someone can find an equal alternative to watching movies and Netflix.

Should you try this challenge? I do not see why you should, but, we are all free individuals. Be sure to do your research first.


Photo: Collected

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