30 Minutes Off the Grid


How many of you, like me, feel lost without your phone? Honestly, sometimes I feel like my iPhone is just an extension of my arm. It’s with me everywhere I go (yes, I even take it in the bathroom…too much information?) and I just feel, well, weird, without it.

But the thing about having the phone with me all the time is that I feel like I need to be checking it constantly. Better make sure there isn’t a critical email in there waiting for me! Better make sure I’m on top of my Twitter feed in case I need to thank someone for mentioning me! Better make sure I’m watching any comments on my company Facebook page so that I can respond immediately!

It’s a form of insanity.

Nevermind that it’s rude when you’re with other people. (If my husband had a nickel for every time he asked me a question and got no response, only to look over and see that I was on my phone.) It also makes me, at least, a little obsessive and interferes with getting other things done (like blogging!) and just spending some time thinking.

dogs walking

The two poodles are ours; the dog on the left was visiting for a few days.

So what this brings me to is the solution I’ve found works for me. We have two dogs and, since I work from home, I’m the one who walks them every day. I used to bring my phone with me on the walks (my other obsession is safety and what if there’s an emergency while I’m out there, no more than 1/3 of a mile from my house at any time??). About 3 months ago I decided that I was going to start leaving my phone at home during the dog walks. I’m not going to lie, I felt some withdrawal the first couple of days. But that dissipated in about a week.

The amazing thing was that, without compulsively needing to check my phone every time it beeped or buzzed, I suddenly had all of this…space. Space to relax my brain, notice things like the breeze or sounds of birds or, more recently, my nostrils freezing. And it turned out that I could think about work, just letting my mind wander, and come up with some really good ideas for my business. Things that, maybe, I wouldn’t have thought of or about if I hadn’t had that quiet time to myself.

Are any of you guys up for trying it? I mean, you don’t have to go out and get a dog or anything (well, unless you want to and then I heartily recommend rescue dogs!), but try a 30-minute walk each day. No iPod, no phone, just you and your two feet, off the grid for a half hour a day. Report back and let me know how it goes.

About karen mahon

i am a behavior and learning scientist. i hold an ed.d. in educational psychology and am trained as an instructional designer. i have spent more than 15 years working in education and instructional software design.
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3 Responses to 30 Minutes Off the Grid

  1. LOVE this Karen! I’m up for the challenge!

    • karen mahon says:

      Can’t wait to see what you think, Rose. I know you have a crazy busy life…it will be interesting to see what you discover. I was surprised by what an impact it had on me. I even missed it when we had way too much snow and ice (and the sidewalks weren’t clear) for me to walk the dogs for a few days.

  2. fran says:

    Congratulations!! This is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. I am happy to have my phone turned off and residing in the glove compartment.

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