Why I Started Tech-Fasting (Unplugging)
For many people, tech-fasting will be a scary proposition.
And the only reason tech-fasting may seem scary is if you have an addiction. If you feel resistance in taking regularly scheduled times to fully disconnect…
You are, indeed, an addict.
And even if you don’t feel resistance to fully unplugging, ARE you regularly unplugging?
If that answer is in the negative, you are also an addict.
And this isn’t a shaming of tech addicts. It’s a matter of controlling where you want your attention to go. If you are having dinner with someone you love, logic would tell me that you would want to be fully present with them.
Out of habit (and maybe even addiction), we have lost control of where are attention is actually going. And even when it’s out of alignment with your highest values.
And I’m not talking about only smartphones and social media. I’m talking about all modes of personal technology. Watching Netflix on your tablet every night before you go to bed is also an addiction. And can contribute to less intimacy with your partner.
It did for me.
The hidden costs of being constantly connected show up everywhere.
In my relationships, in my quality of work, in my parenting (Lucy, our three year old golden retriever, counts).
There have been stretches in the past decade where I didn’t go ten minutes simply being by myself. Without any technology.
And that’s terrifying.
One winter day, I was in Sedona, Arizona reading a book called Deep Work by Cal Newport.
I was in a cabin with no television, no phone, no radio, no wifi.
The book shares the importance of truly focused, deep work and how to achieve that state. And while reading this book, I couldn’t go longer than seven minutes without checking my phone (the irony, I know).
And I knew it was seven minutes because I would open the eight different Gmail accounts in my iPhone and it would say “Last Updated 7 Minutes Ago.”
That’s when I knew I had a problem. A true addiction.
And I knew I had to make a change.
If I can’t even read a book (called Deep Work of all things) in a totally secluded, offline cabin for longer than seven minutes at a time…Where else is this showing up in my life?
What are the hidden costs I can’t even see yet?
Little did I know, it was costing me everything.
My relationship with my wife, Jack. She hadn’t felt true presence from me in years.We had stretches in the past year where we have never felt further apart.And drilling down to the root cause of that, it’s so clear…
Pure lack of presence.
The quality of my work suffered because I couldn’t focus long enough to create anything meaningful. You can’t create deeply meaningful work seven minutes at a time.
The alignment between my life and my work was completely out of whack.
I was working in a business that I didn’t actually like, but never gave myself enough space to consider a change.
The scariest part of all of this…
Is that tech-fasting never even crossed my mind.
The thought of being by myself was scary. And uncomfortable.
And I honestly didn’t know how to do it.
Just sit here and “be?”
And not read an article, watch a video, listen to a podcast or scroll through social media?
So, I didn’t do it. I didn’t unplug.
And it lasted nearly a decade if I’m being honest with myself.
Maybe it’s time to ask yourself…
What’s constant connectivity costing you?
I’d bet it’s costing more than you realize.
Tech-fasting isn’t something you do once a year and then mindlessly go back to chasing whatever you are after.
It’s not a quick detox before jumping back into the same habits and same life. A life of constant connectivity. Replying to emails at all hours of the day. Mindlessly searching for dopamine hits from social media notifications.
And all other tech-related activities that consume the majority of our days.
Tech-fasting isn’t about a quick fix.
Although you will feel the benefits quickly.
Tech-fasting is about easing into a lifestyle that works for you. Not simply reacting to every ping, beep and alert that goes off in your life.
A proactive lifestyle crafting your calendar the way you want.
Creating tech-free time blocks (we call them Blackout Blocks) where you can be fully present with your partner and family. Where you can do deep, focused work on your business, not in your business.
Where you can take time to simply do an activity for you.
And no, I’m not this (complete) anti-tech hippy.
Technology was a catalyst in achieving my dreams and “success.” It allowed me to create online businesses to work and live from anywhere. It allowed me to live in luxury and buy expensive “stuff.” It allowed me to meet my wife.
It allowed us to adopt our aforementioned dog, Lucy.
Technology is an amazing tool. And it has created amazing possibility in the world.
There is no denying the value of technology.
But, when did technology start creating more harm than good in my life?
How could the very tool that allowed me to meet my wife also have a hand in destroying our relationship? How could the very tool that allowed me to live a life of freedom through business also have a hand in my current business failing?
How could the very tool that connects me with thousands of “friends,” also have a hand in the lack of meaningful relationships I have?
The only currency that truly matters in my life is time.
And for me, technology was stealing my most precious asset.
So, I decided to do something about it.
It started slow. I would fully unplug for an hour. Then two hours.
Then an afternoon.
Soon, I‘d tech-fast for an entire 24 hour period on a Saturday. And then an entire weekend. And then I created daily periods of presence every single day of my life. Fully unplugged.
And it was all incredible.
No phone, no laptop, no tablet, no tv, no radio, no wifi.
My wife was getting all of me. True presence that she had never felt before. I created some of the best work and writing of my life. I created the Pursuit of Presence concept.
I created deep, lifelong bonds with people that were casual friends prior.
In short, I went all in on tech-fasting.
And now it’s my life mission to share the power of what I discovered.
I now host multi-day Blackout experiences for groups in stunning locations.
For groups of people that want to quickly experience the benefits of tech-fasting in a few short days.
I’d be honored to have you Blackout with me.
About Me, Rob Nunnery
Hi, I’m Robert. I was born in Georgia and spent my first 18 years of life there.
The following 14 years have been spent living in 20 different cities, having 14 different full time jobs and constantly searching for meaning in my life.
And as unstable and uncertain as those 14 years may seem, I’ve accomplished my initial dreams.
To have an online business that allowed me to live, travel and work all over the world. And when that wasn’t fulfilling enough, I bought fancy things.
Because I thought maybe that would make me happy.
Well, it didn’t.
The curse of my online business was that it also enabled an incredibly strong addiction to technology. I always had to be online to check business stats. And then that led to always being online and posting on social media.
And that led to posting all the fancy trips I went on. And showing off all the fancy things I bought.
And that led to checking every social media platform plus email before I even got out of bed in the morning. And checking them again before I went to bed at night.
And sleeping with my phone under my pillow, just in case.
I think you see the trend…
I became so controlled by technology that it started to consume me.
Not in an obvious way, but very subtly.
I couldn’t think of the last time that I spent 10 minutes by myself totally disconnected from all technology.
Sure, I had spent 10 minutes without my phone on me, but I was always with other people.
And I realized I couldn’t think of the last time because it hadn’t happened since I bought my first iPhone in 2009.
And wow. Just wow.
The cost of never fully disconnecting hit me like a ton of bricks. It was impacting my relationship with myself.
With my wife. With my family.
It was heavily impacting the quality of work I was producing. I never took the space to actually contemplate what business I wanted to be in.
I didn’t understand what truly mattered to me in life.
I struggled to know myself. To really know myself. Because I hadn’t spent any time with myself.
It seems so obvious now.
I was like a humanoid on autopilot living a life of constant distraction. I was living in black and white.
There was no joy. There was no play.
I had to make a change.
Over the course of 45 days, I began to intermittent tech fast.
Meaning, I could only be connected to technology during certain times of the day. Typically work hours. And outside of work hours, I had to be fully unplugged.
My phone off and put away. No tablet, no computer, no calls, no texts, no wifi, no radio, no television.
It started small. An hour here and there. Eventually a full day and then a full weekend.
And it was pure magic.
I now love helping others disconnect from tech to rediscover the beauty in themselves and their lives.
I’d love to personally guide you through an immersive Blackout trip where a group fully disconnects for multiple nights in absolutely stunning locations all over the world.
Apply for the next trip here.
Spots are always limited.
Originally published at www.pursuitofpresence.com.