Digital Detox: What I’ve Learned From Unplugging Once A Week

Is unplugging from technology worth the effort? Here's what I’ve learned after doing a digital detox every Sunday for a month.

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A few weeks ago, a friend told me she’d found a book called 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week by Tiffany Shlain. The title intrigued me and luckily it was available to download from my library, so I started it that night and finished reading it the next day.

As I was reading the book on Sunday, I decided I was going to try a weekly digital detox starting that day and then every Sunday for a month.

Is unplugging from technology worth the effort? Here's what I’ve learned after doing a digital detox every Sunday for a month.

I’m already pretty conscious with my phone usage (my phone is always on do not disturb mode with time limits for social media apps), but I’d never thought to take a full day away from my digital devices.

When you’re constantly plugged-in to apps and devices designed to steal your attention (Netflix has said their main competitor is sleep), you start to lose track of reality and your identity outside of technology.

I thought this was the perfect experiment to see if it would have a positive effect on my mindset. After implementing weekly digital detoxes every Sunday for a month, I’m sharing the lessons I’ve learned and how I made it work without getting bored.

What A Digital Detox Looks Like


Is unplugging from technology worth the effort? Here's what I’ve learned after doing a digital detox every Sunday for a month.

The book 24/6 is based on Tiffany Shlain’s experience of taking one day a week off from technology. Inspired by her Jewish heritage, Shlain calls them “Technology Shabbats”. She combines a screen-free twenty-four hours with Shabbat rituals like a special Friday-night meal with family and friends.

Her family (kids included) goes screen-free from Friday night to Saturday night and limits all smart technology like cell phones. They even use a landline to make phone calls and a record player to listen to music (I knew I wasn’t going to implement these things with my experiment).

What most inspired me to try this idea out was the author’s description of her Saturday routine. Here’s what her family’s Tech Shabbat’s look like (I’ll share mine later):

  • Friday afternoon – pick up fresh fruit and flowers from the farmers market
  • Friday night – host friends for dinner (make the same meal every Friday to take out the guesswork)
  • Saturday morning – journal, read
  • Saturday afternoon – music (listening and playing), cooking, excursions to the library, bike ride, basketball, yoga, scheduled activities, errands, etc.

The Benefits of a Digital Detox


Why would you want to go tech-free once a week? Here are some key benefits to this weekly practice:

More time for hobbies

Unplugging gives us time to grow and learn new skills. Often we avoid doing this because we think we don’t have enough time, but really we don’t have the attention span to even try.

Personal growth

Shlain talks about her own struggle with impatience and how unplugging helps her to practice patience. When we practice unplugging, we can develop our character strengths and work on improving our weaknesses.

Deeper connections

When we unplug, we’re able to give our attention more generously to the people around us. It also gives us the opportunity to connect more deeply with ourselves without distraction or comparison. 

“By giving you a complete day off each week from screens, from obligations, from being available, letting you reflect and connect, tech Shabbat becomes the ultimate technology to make you the most creative, present, and productive version of yourself.”

Tiffany Shlain

My Digital Detox Routine


Is unplugging from technology worth the effort? Here's what I’ve learned after doing a digital detox every Sunday for a month.

My usual Sunday routine would involve watching YouTube for hours, scrolling through social media, and browsing the internet aimlessly. Though I didn’t follow the detox as intensely as Shlain does, here are some rules I set for myself:

  • No checking email
  • No social media
  • No YouTube
  • No computers
  • Only use phone for texts or calls
  • No TV during the day (one or two episodes at night was okay)

Here’s a monthly recap of what my Sunday schedule looked like:

Week 1

  • Started the 24/6 book on Saturday night and decided I wanted to try it the next day
  • Went for a walk in the morning
  • Read for most of the day
  • Did a family dinner over Facetime
  • Watched an episode of Tiger King

One thing I noticed is that I had a hard time falling asleep. I was expecting the best sleep of my life, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.


Week 2

  • Made pancakes for breakfast
  • Spent most of the morning reading Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
  • Meal prepped (I did use my phone so I could follow some recipes)
  • Cleaned my apartment
  • Went for a walk
  • Family FaceTime dinner
  • Watched an episode of Too Hot To Handle (a terrible show, don’t watch it lol)
  • Did a facemask and took a bath

I went to bed around 10:45 after reading. I woke up early the next day (Monday) and actually felt motivated to get things done right away.


Week 3

Apparently I forgot to write down what I did on this day. Oops!


Week 4

  • Went for a walk
  • Read The Bend in Redwood Road by Danielle Stewart
  • Meal prepped
  • Spent too long on Pinterest + Amazon trying to find a kitchen corner shelf
  • Cleaned my apartment
  • Family FaceTime dinner
  • Facemask
  • Watched an episode of Into the Night on Netflix (such a good show!)
  • Went to bed at 10:30

I definitely broke my detox this day by spending way too long on Pinterest and Amazon on my phone. I was feeling inspired to find a corner shelf for my kitchen and that led to overthinking which one to buy. That night, I woke up at 3:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep until 5.


Week 5

  • Made pancakes for breakfast
  • Read The Bend in Redwood Road by Danielle Stewart
  • Visited my mom for Mother’s day with my sister (we sat 6-feet away from each other on the grass)
  • Cleaned my apartment
  • Meal prepped
  • Worked out (I used my iPad to follow a workout)
  • Visited my boyfriend’s mom for Mother’s day (again, we sat 6-feet away from each other outside)
  • Watched one episode of Girls

I felt tempted to go on social media this day, but spending time with family (at a distance, of course) kept me occupied. Looking back, I could have probably created my own workout without needing to follow a video. I didn’t have any issues falling or staying asleep this night.

Related Post: 5 Ways To Have A Healthier Relationship With Social Media

What I’ve Learned


After a month of this challenge, here are some key things I’ve learned or experienced from unplugging once a week:

It gives me something to look forward to

Taking a day away from the online world feels like an escape and an excuse to get away from it all. I knew on Sundays that my day would be calm and relaxing, and that made it something to look forward to every week.

I can stay occupied without technology

I’ve read more books in the past month than I have in a long time. It definitely made me realize that I can keep myself occupied without relying on technology. If you’ve ever wanted to take up a hobby or learn a language, this would be the perfect way to do it.

I’m more productive on Mondays

Since I wouldn’t stay up late on Sunday night watching Netflix or scrolling through TikTok, I woke up on Monday mornings in a good state of mind. I felt like I had more clarity and motivation to get started on my to-do list without procrastinating.

I’m more motivated to be efficient

Knowing that I couldn’t do any kind of work on Sunday made me more efficient during the week. Instead of telling myself I could do a few things on Sunday, I got them done ahead of time so I could fully embrace my tech-and-work-free Sundays.


Would you try a weekly digital detox?

Based on what I’ve learned and experienced from this monthly challenge, I definitely plan to keep doing these Sunday digital detoxes. I think I’ll even try to go the whole day without watching TV to see if that makes a difference.

I hope this post has encouraged you to try your own digital detox one day a week for 24 hours. If you want more ideas for making a digital detox work, I highly recommend the 24/6 book.

Catherine Beard
Hi, I'm Catherine! I'm here to help you get out of your head so you can stress less and focus on what matters.

15 Comments

  1. I am inspired to try a digital detox for a month. I found it interesting that you typically slept better and woke up on Mondays feeling ready to work. It makes sense and gives me more incentive to try!

  2. I absolutely agree with your point…It gives us time to grow and learn new skills and it kinda provides time to experience nature, get some physical exercise, and practice mindfulness. You can always go out on a SoloRide

  3. Great article! I am going to try it. I do desire to read and study more and less social media. Digital detoxing one day of the week just might do the trick. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for the book recommendation.. will definitely have to add it to my reading list. I like the idea of a weekly digital detox for my family. The internet can be really addictive and I want to set a good example early in life for my young kids.

    I gave up TV a couple of years ago and immediately felt so much freer. I had so much more free time and wasn’t wedded to a TV schedule which I had been before.

  5. I have been digitally detoxing a bit. I decided to try it at least 2 days a week, no Facebook, no email response… unless I have a bill to pay! I haven’t written things down (probably so I wouldn’t feel guilty about the time I waste…) but I will try this out, I do like to be organized in my daily routine which has gone to the dogs lately. But this sounds like a better plan. I’m excited to try it. Anything to slow down these boring indoor days that feel like they are going too fast with nothing getting accomplished. Thanks Catherine.

  6. Oh my god, I absolutely LOVED this so much!!! I think I am going to do the same thing, although I am going to do this on a Saturday instead as I so want to use that day to get out and expereince life instead of watching life through my phone!!! Totally going to start doing this right away! Thank you. Dharma x

  7. I regularly do social media detoxes and I find them so rejuvenating! I love this one day a week detox. I am going to try this next.

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