What I Learned From Arianna Huffington After My Failed Attempt to Take Her Advice

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Thrive by Arianna Huffington

I attempted to unplug from my smartphone and Kindle Fire at bedtime for seven straight days.

I failed.

Along with my fellow From Left to Write book club members, we challenged ourselves to take Arianna Huffington’s advice from her book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and try it for 7 days.

Among unplugging at night, she also recommends getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, afternoon naps, and a few other things that busy moms usually forgo.

Like most people addicted to their mobile devices, I charge my phone on my nightstand. Arianna and experts tell us how disruptive keeping your smartphone next to your bed can be. I realized that I barely spoke to my husband as we watched our favorite tv shows together in bed each night because I was constantly checking Facebook and playing games.

My charging station

So I left my phone plugged in by the charging station in my office. Yes, it’s messy, and I have too many mobile devices. Don’t judge. It’s called the life of a blogger.

Here’s What I Learned During My Attempt to Take Arianna’s Advice

1. There’s a detox period to unplugging. The first night was the worst. I laid in the dark wondering my friends’ Facebook updates were. At midnight. Clearly I had a problem. It took me almost 45 minutes of tossing and turning before my brain shut off. Either that or I fell asleep due to boredom. Or exhaustion. 

The second night was a little easier. The third night, I was bedridden with chills and a fever thanks to a spring cold and passed out. Nope, I don’t consider that cheating.

2. I’m too lazy to get out of bed to check my phone. Yes, I went round and round in my head wondering what my friends were up to on Facebook or itching to try for the 100th time to pass level 327 of Farm Heroes Saga. But I was too warm and cozy under my flannel sheets to get out of bed. I’m lazy and didn’t want my phone bad enough. So keeping my phone in the room furthest away from my bedroom works.

3. I need to cut myself some slack. Ok, I cheated a teeny bit when I was sick. I worked in bed. On my laptop. And my phone was next to me. I had some deadlines that couldn’t wait and I was too sick to sit upright in my office. I’m sure if I told Arianna (we’re on a first name basis now that I’ve read her book) I worked while I was sick, she’d yell at me to take a nap.

It was a compromise.  I promised I slept more than I worked. I even pushed back some deadlines. It’s a good thing I’m the boss of me.

4. I miss reading paper books. I get a ton of e-galleys to review for this site and From Left to Write. That means I do a lot of reading on my Kindle, but I’m old school. I love the feel of a book in my hands and trying to balance in bed without dropping it on my face. (Not that I’ve ever done that, ahem.)

5. It’s ok to fall off the wagon. Last night, I went on a screenfest binge. I played a gazillion games on my Kindle Fire, then I opened up the laptop I kept next to my bed (but rarely open) so I could play more games. It was awful. Even as I was doing it, I knew it was self-sabotage. I stayed up until 2AM playing Facebook games. Oh, the embarrassment.

I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I’ll just try again tonight.

What Next?

Now that I know that I won’t die of boredom if I don’t sleep with my phone next to me, I will continue to do so. I’m still debating if I should take my Kindle in the bedroom. I do the bulk of my reading in at night. The good thing is that I removed the Facebook app off my Kindle Fire several months ago, so I won’t be tempted to check Facebook. But my games are on there. . .

Self control is hard.

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to unplugging?

Thrive FL2W Book Club Banner

This post was inspired by Thrive by Arianna Huffington who challenges women unplug and sleep more to create a balanced life. Join From Left to Write on March 19th as we discuss Thrive. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


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