In her article for The Muse, "The 4 Best Lessons I Learned From Giving Myself a Technology Curfew," writer Alex Cavoulacos explains that she and her husband decide to do something crazy for the month of January. "We vowed to stop using any screens after 11 PM. No TV, no computer, not even my trusty iPhone." I shudder at the thought.
When I moved in with my boyfriend he gifted me an iPhone charging cradle to keep on the bedside table on my side of the bed. I have never used it. This is because I sleep with my iPhone. Yes, I know this is sick. But I can't help it. I need the reassurance of knowing that should I not be able to sleep I can roll over and pick right back up my stalking of my pre-school best friends wedding photos. I know this is not healthy. I know this is why I probably can't sleep in the first place. But seriously, she had a dog as her ring bearer!
I can't believe i'm typing this but a dog ring bearer isn't enough of a reason not to stop this terrible habit. It feels impossible but it can be done. In fact, Alex says that at the end of their month experiment she decided to extended the experiment permanently. No three am photos of my boyfriends, ex-girlfriend's new boyfriends ex? No late night work catch up? That doesn't sound worth it. To that Alex says, "Here are the four things I learned from cutting off my screen time:"
1. "I Can Actually Do It." Alex explains that she was someone who regularly sent late night emails. The idea of a hard stop at 11pm seemed crazy to her. "But, I found that as long as you’re dedicated to trying this, all it takes is closing that laptop at 10:59 and not looking back," she writes. "In fact, I closed my computer on a partially written email more than once. Guess what? No one died. No one even panicked." She says she found it helpful to set an alarm for 10:45pm as a reminder to start winding down her work and to set an alarm for the next morning.
2. "I Prioritized My Work Better." Alex says that the addition of the 11 pm hard deadline for computer work led to her getting better at prioritizing her day. "Instead of just jumping into my inbox top down, I kept a list of things I absolutely had to handle that night," she explains. "I would start working with that list in mind, answering key emails that were holding others up (and finishing articles like this one when they were due)." Once she was through with her to-do list she could tackle the non-urgent work until she hit her curfew. She started to feel a much bigger sense of accomplishment at the end of the day then she was when she was working later hours.
3. "I Finally Found Time to Read." This lesson is actually the most comforting to me. Like me, Alex is just generally a night owl. She explains that just because she wasn't using a screen didn't mean that changed. She didn't start falling asleep at 11 by magic. "Rather than laying awake, though, likely thinking about work the next day, I chose to pick up a book," she writes. "And then another, and then another. During the month of January, I read more than the previous six months combined. In fact, I could now read for an hour and still be asleep earlier than my normal time. And the best part? I didn’t feel like I had wasted any time by doing work and watching filler TV in the background." I read a lot, but I do it on a kindle. I wonder if that's cheating?
4. "I Slept Better." Both Alex and I have bouts of insomnia and a pretty serious snooze problem. She says both were helped by her technology curfew. "After years of trying everything I could think of to curb this addiction to five more minutes, I solved it the old-fashioned way: Giving my brain a much-needed break."
But...Kim Kardashian's makeup artists best friends Instagram. Yeah, I need to stop.