A Hygge-lism Book Review
**Caution** This review pays no mind to “spoilers”.
“24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week” written by Tiffany Shlain, promotes a traditional weekly day away from screens. In particular, cell phones, tablets, laptops and televisions.
It’s no secret that we are surrounded by technology and a lot of that technology has screens that beg for our attention. They don’t even really have to beg though, we want to look at them and we do look at them…constantly. “24/6” presents an avenue to escape this glowing , buzzing, chirping, dinging, ringing, attention hog for one, twenty-four hour period each week. By unplugging for that one day you can reground, recoup and recover your creativity, productivity and drive. At the same time you will strengthen your relationships, create memories and build traditions that will carry on for years.
Tiffany Shlain approaches this day as if it is a day of rest similar to the ancient rituals of Judaism’s Shabbat or Christianity’s Sabbath. She even refers to it as a “Technology Shabbat”, recalling all of the benefits that her family has encountered for the many years that she has practised it.
The numerous hazards associated with too much screen time are just now being realized as screens in general are a relatively new invention with respect to the evolution of the human eyes and brain. One startling revelation that I learned is that the blue light associated with screen time is being proven to increase a chemical in the brain that is comparable to that of someone with Alzheimer’s. Another referred to attention and how long it takes for your attention to fully return to your task at hand once it is interrupted by a notification ping, buzz, chirp or simply the screen lighting up. In fact, your phone is likely causing attention disruptions to all those around you because merely the sight of a cell phone in a meeting or at a conference divides your attention.
If the interesting facts and multiple benefits of reducing screen time is not enough to make you want to pick up this book, then I recommend it just for the great quotes that she references throughout the book. Seriously, there are a lot of quotes and they are all really good ones.
While I don’t share the same religious like approach to a screen free day, I do recommend that everyone should give this book a read and give reducing screen time a chance.
Some additional notes on screen time, not necessarily expressed in this book. As I mentioned before, screens are a relatively new invention, staring at a screen is equivalent to staring at a low wattage light bulb for hours at a time and that cannot be a good thing. Cell phones are leading to health issues with the poor posture that they promote and the repetitive thumb/hand positioning that you are so accustomed to. There are even links to testicular cancer in men, as they typically carry their phones in their front pocket, and breast cancer in women as lots of cell phones are tucked into the bra.
Cell phones are an incredible invention, to have an entire world of information in the palm of your hand is a benefit that is incomparable to anything else. The issue is what we use this power for, and how we have become slaves to this technology’s beck and call. No longer are these devices assisting and complementing our lives, they have managed to gain the upper hand. We jump when they call, we panic when they are out of reach, when they beep, chirp, vibrate, ring or light up we stop what we are doing, what we are thinking about and bow down to their needs. The content that they can provide devours our attention and steals all of our free time.
Take back control of your devices and screens. Turn off notifications, learn to be unavailable once in a while, allow yourself to sit quietly and wait. Relearn patience, focus and concentration. Enjoy a disruption free conversation. Turn off the screens and enjoy your first night of truly good sleep in a long long time.