What if you could extend your attention span? Sleep better? Really reconnect with your friends and family? All of these things are possible with just one little change.

What if you could gain an extra hour in the day? Sleep better? Really reconnect with your friends and family? Extend your attention span? Be more productive at work? Hear and see things you often miss?

All of these things are possible with just one little change. This isn’t a gimmick!  No “As Seen on TV” products or a magic pills here. To get the benefits mentioned above and even more, you need to flip a switch – the off switch.

By just turning off your cell phone, your laptop, your iPod and other technological devices, you can refocus your attention. Not checking your email every five minutes will stop you from wasting time. Not having the blue light staring you in the face will help you fall asleep faster and overall sleep better. Better sleep means better productivity at work.

Attention and focus take a hit when you anticipate the arrival of more digital stimulation, according to this New York Times article, which reports on a group of professors who took a trip to a remote area in Utah in order to understand how digital technology affects the way we think. A seminal study mentioned in the article conducted by the University of Michigan showed people can better learn after walking in the woods than after walking down a busy street.

These days, everything is time sensitive. We want answers now and no one can imagine waiting on anything.

But it is possible to control the technology you use.

“Plugging in is routine and hard to break,” said University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill student Taylor Coil, who routinely unplugs in the evenings to take her dog for a long walk or to enjoy a game of cards or a board game with her fiancé.

Graphic designer Christa Jane takes unplugging a bit further. She typically unplugs for a few hours after work and for extended periods of time on the weekend. If she has the day off, Jane rarely checks email and online social networks during that time. While this approach made her feel left out initially, she doesn’t feel that way anymore. “I’ve gotten over it,” she said. “I have few enough friends on Facebook that I can catch up with, but I gave up on reading all tweets.”

Personally, I leave my phone at home and turn off the laptop at least once a day and not just during a workout or a run. I’ve found it to be quite liberating. The unplugged time allowed me to finish some novels and non-fictions I meant to read years ago. The extra time has also given me and my husband time to try new recipes and watch movies.

You really don’t have anything to lose by unplugging. Start with an hour here and there. Before you know it, you might be up to a full evening or whole day.

Besides, as designer Jessica Kohler points out, you have to live so you have something to talk about.

Aurora Meyer is a member of the Brazen Life Contributor Network.


  1. Anonymous

    I love this post and so agree! I recently started logging off on the weekends–I limit myself to checking personal and work email once a day on Saturday and Sunday–and it makes a huge difference when work rolls around on Monday!

  2. Tatiana

    This is pretty awesome. Once a week I volunteer, and even though I can use a computer there, I enjoy the company. Which is part of unplugging for me because most of my socializing takes place online (via Skype, AIM, FB, etc). So spending a few hours outside of the house, and even running errands, helps to keep me sane and motivated.

    • Aurora Tyler

      I’m sure by focusing on your volunteer activities they are more rewarding. Good luck on continuing to unplug!

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  4. Cameron Plommer

    I think everyone agrees with this, but like in so many areas, it’s hard to execute. Especially when the task you are trying to complete is done using the internet.

    The Pomodoro technique is something I’ve found really helpful (you can read about how I use it here http://bit.ly/pI1kkU)

    • Aurora Tyler

      Interesting idea, Cameron. As a former journalist, I find it hard to follow strict time allotments, but know when I’m hitting a wall it’s time to change. Maybe others could begin applying the Pomodoro technique to start unplugging. Start at 25 minutes once a day and gradually increase the time.

  5. Amanda Abella

    This is great advice! I have noticed that I am more peaceful when my cell phone is out of commission.

  6. Krishan @OCW

    Love the switch 🙂

  7. Kamal

    Going to flip the switch..

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