Screen-free evenings

I had a really crazy couple of weeks lately, but not in the sense that you’d expect. Instead of my evenings being packed with dinners and parties and events (the good kind of busy!), I was rushing home every night, cooking up a quick dinner, and settling in front of my laptop. I had freelance and project deadlines piling up – don’t they always seem to all hit at once?! – and spent a solid three hours each night on the computer, before switching over to Hulu and falling asleep to one of my favorite shows. Every. Night.

As much as I love writing and editing photos, I soon realized that I was becoming burnt out. Combined with my time in my actual office doing my actual full-time job, I was spending upwards of twelve hours a day in front of a screen – more than 50 percent of my time, and basically all of my waking hours except for my commute. YIKES.

Instead of whining and moaning about how busy I was and how much work I had (a favorite hobby among many New Yorkers), I decided to do something about it. One night last week, I came home and didn’t turn on my laptop at all. I turned off my phone for about three hours. And I committed to having a screen-free, work-free evening, for better or worse.

Screen-free evening in Brooklyn, New York

I cooked up an elaborate dinner (JK, it was frozen pizza), poured a glass of wine, and promptly decided that my Kindle didn’t count as a “screen” for these purposes (hey, it’s a Paperwhite, so easy on the eyes). I read more than 40 percent of the entrepreneurship book I was working on, and fell asleep at 8:30 p.m. Clearly sitting in front of a computer all the time wears a person down!

Once I had woken up from my little nap (and posted about my screen-free evening on Instagram, OBVIOUSLY), I was able to assess my day – and realized it was a smashing success. I felt rejuvenated and, weirdly, more accomplished than I had in weeks. And so, I’ve decided – at least once a week, I am going to institute screen-free time (not always in the evenings, thanks to my wacky work schedule) for two hours. No computer, no phone. I’m really looking forward to it!

Have you ever done something like this? Any other suggestions for forced relaxation?

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