The ‘Back to the 1950s’ technique: Implementing recess periods for your mind

Screen free time

When was the last time you worked with pen and paper away from a computer screen and with your mobile phone and iPad in another room?

I often do my best work and learning when I’m away from screens and working with pen, paper and my books.

This is what I call the ‘Back to the 1950s’ technique.

This technique is where you try to recreate the conditions of a 1950s home. In other words, have no screens in your space. Leave your laptop and phone in another room. Sharpen your pencil. Take out your notebook. Polish your boots (only kidding). It’s time to work in the absence of modern day technology.

Dr Adam Alter, author of the book Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology states:

“There should be times of the day where it looks like the 1950s or where you are sitting in a room and you can’t tell what era you are in. You shouldn’t always be looking at screens.”

This isn’t about decorating your bedroom with retro-furniture. It’s about the absence of screens and having the space in your life where your attention isn’t being disrupted every few minutes by the sound of beeps, pings and rings tones.

If you’re struggling to imagine what it was like in the 1950s, have a chat with your grandparents (or great grandparents) about what life was like back then. Get a sense of what they did to entertain themselves when they felt bored or restless.

Let me make it clear: I’m not anti-technology.

I couldn’t do what I do without technology. But I remember a time when I didn’t have a mobile phone and when it took a minute to connect to the Internet and then several minutes for a webpage to load.

Back in those days (the 90s), I was more likely to stick at challenging work for longer. Now when things get difficult, it’s just too easy to escape to the awesomeness of the Internet.

Sometimes our brains are tired and overloaded by the non-stop flood of information. This is when it feels great to ‘Go back to the 1950s’, get away from screens and allow your mind to focus on just one thing.

What will you do today to give your brain a break from screens? How will you go back to the 1950s? Share what you plan to do below.

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