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Bill Bennett


Digital sabbath

Set aside one day a week when you don’t switch your computer on.

A day when you don’t check mail, update Facebook, or tweet.

No firing up the desktop for game playing.

It doesn’t need to be the same day every week. You may have to trim things according to needs and deadlines. You may only be able to manage one day a fortnight.

Go off-line and let the brain rest. Or, if not rest, allow it to change gear.

Take a break instead of constantly responding to incoming messages. Just let them pile up.

There’s always tomorrow.

You can de-stress. And before you say you find it stressful not being in constant touch with cyberspace, think again. You know that isn’t true.

The online world will go on without you.

Read books, chat to friends, play sport, enjoy the sunshine or bake muffins instead.

That way, when you get back online, you’ll be refreshed. It is like a mini holiday. It may sound like a cliché, but you will work better after taking a day-long break from your computer.

Digital sabbath not original

The digital sabbath is not an original idea. If you are religious, it came at the end of the first recorded week. The Biblical creation story says God rested on the seventh day.

Ancient Jews worked for six days then strictly observed the Shabbat when many everyday things were not allowed. They knew this was mentally, and physically, healthy.

I first heard about the idea of a digital sabbath in an online forum – sadly I don’t recall who or where the original idea comes from.


It is harder to take even one day’s rest from the digital world if you have a phone, an ebook reader or if you use the computer as an entertainment hub for music and video. And you may have a job, or some other responsibilities that make going off-line difficult.

Nevertheless, I suggest you do what you can to give it a try, reconnect once a week with the analogue world.

I’m not perfect

I’d like  to report I take a full day away from my computer every week. The truth is, I don’t always manage it. Although I try to schedule a full day off each week, I generally only get a couple of full-blown digital sabbaths each month.



One thought on “Digital sabbath

  1. Nice idea Bill and one worth trying. The interesting difference to the original sabbath is that this one would change not just what work we do on that day, but what recreation we undertake. Must the DS be a weekend day? This has got me thinking about what a midweek DS might do for my agency. Would a day away from email kill us? On the family front, I know it would be an easy sell with the kids. “Hey kids, every Sunday is going to be DS day, OK?” I’m sure I’d get 100% agreement. Not my problem if they think I mean Nintendo…

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