Could you go 1 week without unnecessary technology? This writer tried, and here is what she learned.

As I sit and write this piece, I’m surrounded by the sweet, melodic sounds of nothing. No Netflix in the background, no YouTube gurus bestowing great words of wisdom, and none of the Top 40 tunes I’ve lovingly deemed necessary to my existence. Instead, I’m engulfed in quiet. It’s peaceful. It’s calm. And it’s rare.

When I first pitched the idea for a week without unnecessary technology, I was excited. I was sure this would not only be easily accomplished, but would provide me with an invaluable opportunity —  a reawakening of my soul that would cultivate the spark for what would surely lead to the next great novel (or at least a life-altering epiphany). I viewed it as something noble, the chance to return to the “primitive roots” of my forefathers, and a challenge that would surely unlock mental waterfalls of inspiration.

The plan was a simple: I would spend seven days without using any “unnecessary” use of technology; unnecessary meaning that which didn’t fall under the categories of basic communication with friends and loved ones (ie. talk/text), email, and word processing programs.

I would allow myself the privilege of utilizing home workout videos as a method of avoiding technology-withdrawal-induced insanity, but all other “entertainment” was off limits. I would forego TV shows and other streaming devices (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), YouTube, podcasts, games/apps, web surfing, music and radio, audiobooks and cameras. I was primed, I was pumped. And I was certain that it would be as easy as that leftover piece of cherry pie.

Day one began and the gravity of my decision hit me like a ton of laptops.

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I sat staring at my smartphone — its glorious 5.44 inches of everything beautiful- willing myself to resist the temptation. My finger hovered over the home button and there I stayed for a good five minutes. Rallying my strength, I set it aside and spent a blissfully boring quiet day, surrounded by my own thoughts and little else.

Though I was more focused than ever before, my daily tasks seemed to be served with an extra helping of drudgery. Scrubbing a toilet wasn’t the same without my daily podcast playing in the background nor was getting ready, cooking, or having some downtime. That first day came to a close, and I found myself doubting my ability of making it to day seven.

When first conceived, I had intended for this article to take a journal-like approach in which I would recount my deepest quotes and anecdotes, portraying visions of triumph as I came off of my challenge: a new woman. Surely this would inspire readers everywhere to embark on their own technology-less quest, ultimately making the world a better place.

I’ll save everyone some time and tell you straight up that none of that happened.

In other words, I failed.

True, there were days in which I managed to squeak by mostly technologically free, but I slipped and slid more often than not. I’d chalk up my brief moment on Pinterest to HAVING to recall that recipe, only to spend an ashamed fifteen minutes perusing the latest fall cocoa fads. I’d attempt to read through my emails and find myself pulled to an outside site, yearning to discover the “Fifteen Secrets to a Younger You!”

The devastation that comes with not achieving a goal or challenge threatened to rain it’s little drops of sadness upon me and I wondered what influence I could possibly be having in this world, and how full of a life I was living, when I was so apparently tied to the devices I’d committed to discarding.

As I sat mulling it over, the drops began to lighten and the sun started to shine. I came to realize that though my days may be saturated with apps, social media sites, iTunes and internet, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. My mind was flooded as I realized how my life was positively impacted by the use technology.

In the past month alone: I joined an online fitness group comprised of a group of ladies that have similar health goals as myself. They help me stay motivated in living a healthy and active lifestyle so that my body is strong enough to do everything it desires.

I listened to a podcast about marriage and relationships that taught me how to make my own marriage more successful. This inspired me to seek out ways to show extra love to my husband, causing me to search for, find, and print “love notes” from an internet site.

I spent time mentoring underprivileged youth via an online program, allowing me live outside of myself and give back in a unique way.

I stumbled across a calendar template that allowed me to organize my time, meals, and chores, allowing me to be less stressed/anxious, and more productive.

I listened to a religious devotional that filled me with inspiration for the day and put my mind at ease concerning a serious worry of mine.

Finally, I was able to reach out to friends and family members whom I might otherwise have had no contact with.

Though I didn’t achieve the goal I had originally set for myself, including the type of inspiration I had counted on, I was inspired in another way. I came to the realization that perhaps there is no such thing as “unnecessary” technology. It  is instead the way in which it is utilized.

I am more comfortable than ever sitting in silence, as I know my time “online” can be filled with purpose. As I came upon this understanding, I formed a new goal for myself: to use this unique form of progress as a way to “plug into” myself, my relationships, and the rest of the world.