Minimalism A to Z: U Is for Unplugging Occasionally


“Occasionally unplugging from all our devices and techno-distractions is one of those seemingly small adjustments that actually have the power to transform the way we see the world, live our lives and interact with the people who matter most to us.”

– Arianna Huffington

Unplugging is a hot topic these days, with articles urging us to unplug for a variety of reasons, including strengthening relationships, increasing productivity and creativity, improving sleep, and lengthening attention spans.

Unfortunately, many of us treat unplugging the same way we do exercise and a healthy diet. We know all that stuff’s good for us, but we don’t want to do it. So today, take a few minutes to make a plan to unplug occasionally, to take some time off from all your electronic devices, including cell phones, tablets, laptops, gaming devices and televisions.

Since we all have different personalities and lifestyles, what works for your best friend or sister might not work for you. Experiment with different ways of unplugging until you find one that feels right for you.

Options include:

  • Setting aside a time period each day when you’ll unplug. Perhaps it will be meals, the hour before bed, or your first couple of hours in the morning.
  • Celebrating a technology “Sabbath” for a 24-hour period each week.
  • Unplugging on vacations.
  • Keeping your phone in another room when you go to bed.
  • Mandating gadget-free zones in your home.

If you feel you cannot leave your phone at home or turned off because you might miss an emergency call, install one of the apps that allows you to whitelist certain callers. Just be careful to whitelist only those who need to reach you in a true emergency, such as your child’s school or daycare.

You can use Do Not Disturb on your iPhone. I have Nights Keeper for Android, and I’m happy with it, but I’m sure there are other options.

To continue using your phone to take photos or listen to music while unplugged, just set it on airplane mode.

Are you consumed by your gadgets? Do you have a plan for unplugging? Or maybe you don’t need a plan because you regularly unplug?


I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.