written by alison

For the first time since grade school, I signed up for summer camp. Before you get too excited and jealous, it is worth noting that I signed up for virtual summer camp.

Fewer bugs, more fun.

One of my clients was hosting a one week virtual summer camp program to promote her upcoming online course. I adore everything she does, so I decided to show my support by participating. And I knew I’d learn a thing or two, so ’twas a win-win and an easy decision.

However, I’m more than grateful I was sitting down when I got the first assignment – turn off email and social media on your phone for an entire week. Shut the front door. What had gotten into her?!

After I remembered to breathe again, I realized I was grateful for the assignment. In my bookmark bar is a collection of links about taking a digital sabbatical, quitting facebook and limiting social media time. A gathering of information without any action. Amber gave me that kick into action.

Are you sure you want to delete?

There was no hesitation from me to get started. It was the perfect way for me to test a digital sabbatical, and I knew one week wouldn’t be the end of the world.

I did get the nervous jitters about deleting some apps, but not Pinterest – major time suck. Next came Twitter, then my beloved Facebook. I held onto Instragram since the assignment was about spending more time creating. But I tucked it into a folder labeled “Don’t Use” with the default email app on it’s own page.

It was all over in a few seconds. Then I set my phone down and got to work. I won’t say I didn’t struggle. There were more than a few moments that I unlocked my phone only to remember that my “social” folder didn’t exist anymore.

Months have gone by since I set my mail app to check manually and turned off all alerts for it, but I still had the nasty habit of opening the app whenever I had a spare moment – waiting at a long stop light or while the pot of water was coming to a boil. I chose not to delete my email accounts from the phone because I wouldn’t be able to add them back in the same way (shakes fist at the Google overlords), but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t serious about never opening the app.

More power.

At the end of the third day, not only did my iPhone have some battery life left (who knew you didn’t have to charge it every night!?), but I had more energy to create, which is what I want in life. I didn’t miss anything from my inbox or newsfeed. And I probably annoyed my friends a little less since I wasn’t able to post as often as normal.

I’m excited to continue this challenge and see if it leads to a more extreme version. Or at least fewer apps on my phone. (I love me some digital minimalism.)