Have you ever stood on a street corner with your phone buzzing in your pocket, or purse and wondered I wish technology didn’t exist, then you answered your phone anyways. Yeah those days have been coming my way more and more as we experience this interesting period of life called “living with COVID”.
For most of North America, last weekend was Labour Day Weekend which meant everyone was entitled to celebrating the national holiday and enjoying an extra day out of the office. This would give someone approximately 72-hours to themselves, their families and their lives. To disconnect from the world and reconnect with the world.
On Friday September 4th, we decided this was the weekend when we were going to log off and tune out technology. We were going to decompress and just be part of the world. Instead I played chess, watched YouTube, uploaded videos, backed up Google photos, lobbied a couple hundred new followers onto the new JacksonCrabb Media instagram and continued processing multiple other entries into a variety of Social Media, the blog, and participation items to continue the advancement and progress of starting a new venture.
Then on Wednesday night, September the 9th I was hanging out with a few guys watching the Toronto Raptors play Game 6 versus the Boston Celtics which went into double overtime and the Raptors ended up winning by 3-points. This meant Game 7 would be played on Friday night. Once again some friends and I, got together to watch the game at a local pub. We idly chatted about the game, the weekend coming up, our feelings on COVID, not being able to workout at the gym, the change in routines, possible side-business adventures and on the topics went until the Raptors lost and we all departed the pub.
It was upon our departure that I decided this would be the weekend where the phone didn’t ring, the social media accounts would not be updated and to see how many other things I could accomplish while decompressing from technology.
As soon as it was time for sleep I plugged in the cellphone then powered it down. It blinked and looked at me with the “are you sure you want to turn me off” secondary screen. And I pressed the little red square – Power Off. Setting the phone on the floor and I hit the sheets. In the morning the phone did not ring, the alarms were not buzzing and the notifications were silent. I slept in until 9:45am on Saturday September 12th. It was the first night in ten nights that I was able to sleep straight through the night.
You see, I (Aaron) tend to be a night guy. My “normal” routine pre-covid was…
- In bed at Midnight, sleep until 4:45am
- Get up, drink a glass of water, use the bathroom
- Consume a hemp-protein workout shake
- Grab gym bag, go out the door by 5:15am (the latest), lock up and out to the truck
- Drive to the gym, 15 minutes away depending on weather and temperature
- Be at the gym by 5:30am
- Into the change room, disrobe and change into the morning workout gear
- On Monday and Wednesday this meant 2-hours working out and cardio in the building
- On Tuesday and Thursday this meant a 5-kilometre jog/run outside then back into the building to change out of running clothes and into workout clothes
- On Friday it was purely an hour in the gym working out followed by fellowship at the local breakfast joint with 10-other fellas from the gym to talk about work, sports, travel and life
- Workouts went 5:30am to 7:30am
- Showering, changing into the work clothes, and getting a post workout drink together
- Drive 20 minutes to the workplace, depending on traffic and weather
- Work from 8:30am until 5:30pm
- Drive 20 minutes to the house
- Spend 6:00pm to 7:00pm getting dinner together and eating with family
- 7:00pm to 9:00pm studying
- 9:00pm to 11:00pm recap with the family about their days
- 11:00pm to midnight meditation and relaxation before bed time
- The above routine started on December 1, 2019 and ended on March 29, 2020
Then on January 1, 2020 continuing up until April 1, 2020 we put all the training to good use by signing up for a variety of 5-kilometre running competitions. as we believed this would help keep our daily and monthly goals in check by pushing us to compete. It worked. In the first 3-months of the new year we had accomplished 2-races per month for a total of 6 races.
Then all hell broke lose and COVID interrupted the pursuit of physical fitness, mental stability and countless other lifestyle changes which were being created through new habits thanks to the rigorous schedule above.
Post COVID, the training disappeared, the muscle gained turned back to fat, the healthy 5-kms jogs turned into barely being able to walk around the block. Ailments of the body which were routinely being changed due to the workouts came limping back into my life. And the worse part of all this is I went back to being the guy who stays up until 3:00am doing things on the internet instead of getting a solid nights rest for the rigours of the next morning.
COVID ruined everything. But did it have to?
Sometime before COVID arrived I was in the local Indigo-Chapters (Canada’s version of Barnes&Noble) when I found this book by Charles Duhigg called The Power of Habit. Its been sitting on my bookshelf for many months now and I recently started reading it. Inside it, it talks about habits, routines and why people change. Then it talks about the positives of changing one habit which can cause a chain reaction in other habits within your life. All because this one positive aspect of habit change will ripple out into various places within your life.
This smartphone free weekend has proven to me several things are affected positively by changing one habit. This weekend by powering down the cellphone I was able to accomplish all of these items on a long checklist of items which have been sitting on my desk for more than 3-months.
- Slept Friday and Saturday night more than 8-hours straight without any interruptions
- Most sleep interruptions are because of various alarms, bells and notifications that plague me from the smart phone
- Removed the air dampening spoiler on the front of my Tacoma for aesthetics
- Went for 3-walks around the block
- Stretched for 20-minutes each morning
- Did Yoga each afternoon for 30-minutes
- Read the book mentioned above for 2-hours per day
- Drove to the countryside and met up with some friends
- Went out to dinner on Saturday night
- Went to the local pub on Sunday to watch some NFL Football week 1
- and what I didn’t do this weekend was…
- Spend 3-hours playing video games each day
- Spend 3-hours on each social platform updating content
- 2x Twitter, Facebook pages, Instagram, Tumblr and WordPress
- Spend 3-hours uploading images and/or videos into social media platforms
- Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr
- Spend 3-hours updating stock photography platforms
- iStock, Carbonmade, 500px, and Flickr
- Spend 8-hours researching Affiliate Marketing
Conclusion habits can be changed overnight, or over several weeks. It takes determination, a plan, and being assertive to the task at hand. In this weekend experiment, I was able to prove to myself that I didn’t need to be connected to the planet via a cellphone for 48-hours and that I could easily make do with the 100’s of other options available to myself to keep myself entertained and making progress against life’s little treasures.