I realized that I said “no” to quite a few things in my previous post about going on a digital fast for 3 days. Things that might seem fairly important to your non-work life, like email, FaceBook, the interwebs, television, movies, and all those i-Gadgets.
In fact, many of you may be thinking, “Great, yeah, I’m gonna stop doing the few enjoyable of the things that I do when I’m not working. Right, what am I going to do instead, stare at the walls and sing Kumbaya?”
Well, no. A digital fast isn’t supposed to be punitive, it’s supposed to be different and fun.
With that in mind, here are 17 things you can do instead:
- Go out for coffee, lunch, dinner or dessert with a friend. Bonus points if you can explain you’re experimenting with a media fast and get your friend to agree not to check her/his email, texts and FaceBook during the time you spend together.
- Get to some of those home/apartment to-do’s you never have time to do. Cause now, you have some extra time.
- Sleep in, or take a long, luxurious nap. Or both.
- Cook a meal from scratch. But no cookbooks! You can call your mom/dad/sibling or foodie friend and ask them to dictate a recipe, though. Who knows, it might even involve an actual conversation before you know it.
- Take a hands-on class. Cooking, art, yoga, scrapbooking, Home Depot—whatever doesn’t require anything beyond the most minimal reading. No think-y classes—the Meaning of Kant in the 21st Century can wait.
- Go to a paint-your-own-pottery place. No artistic skills required, they usually have stencils, or heck you can just paint dots or stripes on something.
- Take a walk. If that sounds boring, add some fun by trying to find items that start with each letter of the alphabet. Be creative—it could be (Batty) Old Lady, Woman, Neighbor or Mrs. Zemanski. (Kudos to my 6-year old for inspiring this idea.)
- Go to an art exhibit. Sorry, headphones or iPod tour guides are off limits. But real tour guides are great, as is simply listening to your own thoughts and impressions.
- Go to a live concert. Whatever and wherever–rock, country, classical, in an arena, church or the bookstore.
- Go visit an old cemetery. You are allowed to read the headstones.
- Write. On paper, not computer. Letters, essays, fiction, non-fiction, music. Or about how much you’re hating the media fast.
- Knit, do needlework, or sew. Not just for women—men are taking up knitting, for example, in relative droves. There’s a wonderful soothing quality to the repetitive motion of these activities. Plus, with so many knit shops and fabric stores sponsoring stitch and, er, witch-with-a-b sessions, you can make it a social thing as well.
- Paint. Paint-by-number totally counts.
- Go do something physical and fun that you normally don’t—hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, Tai Chi, sailing, water- or snow skiing, just for starters.
- Call up a friend you’ve been neglecting. Catch up.
- Garden. Or visit a good garden center. Or visit a botanical garden.
- Take a ghost tour. Weird? Maybe. Fun? Absolutely.
It’s a wide and varied list, and if you’re being a stickler, it has more than 17 ideas in it. Darn! With any luck, some of these ideas may spark an even better idea for you. Oh, and don’t tell anyone, but if you are looking for Artist Date ideas—you can use these for that as well.
Good luck on your fast. Let me know how it goes!
Jennifer Alvey is a former practicing attorney who started her career transition a decade ago by doing media fasts, Artist Dates, and all manner of other weird and wonderful stuff. She now coaches attorneys and other professionals who want to change their careers to something they actually look forward to. You can reach her at jalvey AT jenniferalvey.com.