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How a Month without Computers Changed Me

Andrey Sitnik on October 31, 2018

No emails left for me to read. Nor write. I’ve sent a message to my family and delegated my open source projects (Autoprefixer and PostCSS) to my f... [Read Full]
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Great post, I look forward to my next extended break. The closest I've come is a two or three days with pretty much no computers.

I can't remember my last true extended break of any kind. Probably not since age 16 when I last attended computerless summer camp. 14 years ago!


I can't really understand how people can do this no computer thing. I had to leave my laptop for one week, it felt like there was missing piece of me


"...I overcame my fear of boredom and now can easily take a cruise or visit places where there is no internet. I stopped worrying I never had enough time—it had become a logical thing, as I understood that with the internet I live two lives in parallel...."

Best part. Technology is not the reason for living, simply an augmentation to communication.


Thanks for sharing this story.

It is something I've been considering doing on a regular basis too, especially as a developer who spends large amounts of time staring at screens.

Maybe this type of break needs an official name.


"The other side of being calm was a loss of motivation. The internet gets you to do things. You see the successes of other people and try to keep up with them. You value time much more dearly, as you know that any extra 10 minutes you can steal is a chanсe to read an interesting article from your archives that might produce a small change in you."

I think the opposite is true. The internet constantly steals your time by distracting you from what you originally wanted to do. Lets just quickly watch a video on youtube. Oh theres a new tweet from , let me see what he wrote quickly. Oh Amanda wrote me a message on facebook. ... 3 hours later you don't even know what you originally wanted to do.

Aswell looking at successes of other people (usually) doesn't make you feel more motivated, instead it makes you feel worse about yourself and you'll be less likely to do useful things. (Of course there are exceptions here.)

Mobile phones are another distraction - the amount of people staring at their phones in pretty much every situation nowadays is astonishing... But thats another topic ;).

I realized for e.g. coding its very useful at some points to just download the docs you require and plug the ethernet cable out to get things done.

Great written post.



Yeap, I know this feeling. But I think we have this feeling of not using time right just because our culture force as to be 100% effective (which is not possible). I think that watching YouTube is a relaxing time, which I need to be productive in another time. Talking with Amanda is especially important because we are social and we love to communicate.

Just say yourself “yes, I can be not productive sometimes, yes I can do think online just for fun because it is important”.

Anyway, even with YouTube and other things, you still more productive than without the Internet at all.

(But yeap, everyone still needs good time management on Internet too)


When I go on vacation I usually do a "computer break". I put my phone on do not disturb, and I only use it for things like maps, time, and calling a cab. I bring a book, maybe a math problem or two, and a concept to mull over.


I love how this experience didn't turn into an all-in for either way of life.
My fave takeouts:

Your battery is never low if you don’t have one.

[...] IT hadn’t changed the world around, but created another, a parallel one.

Modern cameras are too powerful. You push the button—you get the photo you need, always. As a result, not only do you stop thinking about the how but also about the what. Film is hard to use, film makes you find a way

The internet is not unlike a new flat—it seems empty and lacking soul

I especially like to relate in part, the last two.


That's exactly why we do Sabbath every week... 😌


Yeap, Sabbath rules really inspired me for this whole experiment


Great post Andrey, so much to think about. The closest I got was not using social media apps for a few months (except Facebook which is still in the gutter :D). I read a lot when I did it :D

First let me say this: film cameras "for the win". You truly become a different kind of person when you have 36 shots and you have to pay for each of time.

my biorhythms adjusted to the Sun in no time.

so true, how fast the body adjusts if we respect it. I spent the entire summer without alarms and after a couple of days I noticed I was waking up at the same exact moment, give or take a few minutes

I didn’t have much difficulty using a GPS-less, paper map

Until a couple of years ago Europe had expensive and senseless international roaming. I had to relearn how to use paper maps :D

When the pain was too bad, I would tell myself the story of _why, an iconic person in the ruby community

This is a gem! I hadn't read his name in a long time. His poignant guide is how I learned Ruby. A legend!

There are hundreds of letters and thousands of RSS news waiting for me. I’m so emotional and busy I will not have more than four hours’ sleep a day, for the next three days, and instantly become a night owl, again. Yet I will be so glad to have returned.

Ahahah I feel you, even if this expectation defeats the purpose a little bit. I think now in 2018 it would be even harder because our brains are addicted to outrage and social media :D

I changed my attitude towards technology and the impact it has on society

Nice to hear! I wonder if after your usage of technology has decreased in general (not just when away) or it's just more pragmatic


His poignant guide is how I learned Ruby. A legend!

Absolutely. The whole his story is amazing.


This was an excellent read. I don't know that I could have made it as long; I have done much shorter periods. Even during those shorter periods, I can relate to some of your findings. For a month, though - you're a better man than I. : )


Great publishing, tell more about your day to day, I'm in the process of disconnecting


At the time of experiment I traveled from Italy to Spain. It helped with boring.


You're not traveling today? Would you go back to a Nomade life?


I have not stopped since 1990, I was 6 years old


Wow what a great read, thanks for sharing this!


Every trend you highlighted in this post from 2013 seems like it's just gotten more pronounced in the last 5 years

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