Each member of Team Ridiculously Efficient was tasked with spending one 24-hour period in September without using any screens. That meant no smartphones, no laptops, computers or tablets, and no TVs. This is how we fared.
We started by shutting down our digital technology each night at 8pm, but this time the task was to put it all away for a full 24-hours. Man, I thought starting at 8pm was tough a few weeks ago, but this challenge was surprisingly easier for me. But, it was all in the planning!
Knowing how busy my schedule has been lately, I first had to choose the best day to complete this assignment to give it a fair shot. I started by choosing a day that I did not have to rely on my phone’s alarm to wake up and picked a day that I could simply wake up naturally. This is, by far, my favorite way to start my day -- completely on my terms. Although I was not completely off from work, I did not have to report until 4:45 pm which means I, of course, still woke up at my usual time of 7am. #FML. Why is it that when we actually have the chance to sleep in, our bodies still wake us up?
The first thing that I did when I woke up for my full day of digital detox, was move my analog clock into the area of my apartment where I can see it easily, and to keep myself from being tempted to use my phone. I set my phone behind the clock and out of my sight. I also turned it to airplane mode -- this way I would not be distracted by its vibrating notifications. I kept my analog clock within sight because I often get anxiety about timing and hate to be late or completely unaware of what time it is, but, most importantly, because I did not want to be late for work.
Secondly, I used a pen and paper and wrote a list of tasks to keep myself busy. I knew that if I left my day open, I would find myself scrolling on my phone or clicking around on my computer. Again. My list consisted of things that were still productive, such as laundry, dishes and cleaning my apartment, but I also made sure to include a few tasks that would be fun for me and a chance to be creative, like baking sugar cookies with my boyfriend and decorating them for the fall season.
Although I did become very tempted to snatch my phone from behind the clock, I managed to not even touch it until I needed to leave for work. The thought of going to work without my phone practically gave me a panic attack, but I talked myself through it, and even convinced myself to leave it at home!
Typically, on breaks while working at Disney, a phone is a must-have to keep yourself occupied, but in reality, I’m never alone, so I chose to force myself to be social and talk to people sharing my break area.
This task has really opened my eyes to the beauty of what I get to do for the Disney company, because I portray a character that is from a land where phones do not exist. Being on stage and hands-free is a pretty liberating feeling. For a short period of time, I am out of touch with the world and I'm am even out of my own head. I'm living and thinking as someone else, which is an escape I love training to new cast members as they join the team.
However, there were a few instances that I was forced to use digital technology because of operational requirements of my role, such as clocking in digitally and following a 10-minute warm-up video to prepare my body for performance. Also it was kind of fun because I was completely surrounded by phones taking photos of me, but none of them were in my hand.
In my entire day, I only pushed four buttons, which was pretty impressive in my opinion. I chose to leave my phone on airplane mode even when I returned home from work. But I must admit, I did quickly set my alarm for the morning, plugged it in and put it back down. The next day I had to start bright and early, and it was back to the digital world for me.
I'd consider doing something like this again. I have to be able to plan ahead like I did this time so that I'm able to set myself up for success. However, the idea of a pop-up, mandatory detox sounds fun and challenging as well. No excuses, just detox.