“The more you document your own life, the more you check in, you tweet, the more you post photos of what you did last night, the more you do all of this stuff, or even in my case, the more you listen for little lines of dialogue that can make their way into stories, the more you photograph moments, in a way, the more you start to step out of those moments. And if you do that too much, you become a spectator to your own life.” Jonathan Harris
Monday morning, I came into work focused on getting everything completed before my mini vacation. I knew that the only way to do that was to disconnect from anything distracting.
Being so connected to basically everything that doesn’t matter has rendered us incapable of communicating with each other effectively and meaningfully. A quick text here and there while we multi-task. No focus necessary.
Although I’ve done a “detox” of social media before, it doesn’t really change things if you’re going back to your old ways when you’re done. I commend writer and author, Baratunde, for slightly shifting his ways after his detox. He imparts with us, in his article, why it was important for him to unplug from social and digital media for 25 days and what he learned from the experience.
On the day of my return, I posted homecoming messages to the major networks, flipped my profile photos over, and prepared to reverse my preflight checklist. But then I realized something: I didn’t have to reverse all of it. There was no rule that I had to restore Shazam’s rights of interruption on my lock screen. There was no law forcing me to be notified of each Twitter mention. It was possible to enjoy music without auto-publishing each Rdio track to my Facebook Timeline. I returned to my plugged-in life, but less plugged in, and armed with new habits…
The greatest gift I gave myself was a restored appreciation for disengagement, silence, and emptiness. I don’t need to fill every time slot with an appointment, and I don’t need to fill every mental opening with stimulus. Unoccupied moments are beautiful, so I have taken to scheduling them.
There is a barrage of information out in cyber space. And quite frankly, I do not care to know everything. Sometimes, it’s just good to unplug and gather your bearings.
- Limit your use of social media. Truly, only stalkers and detectives need to be online 24/7. Not saying I’m not a stalker, just saying we should try limiting those hours online. Currently, I only check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every two or three hours. Being too connected, as if you’ll miss something important, is not necessary. In time, you’ll find that you won’t really care about who’s tweeting what or what you’ll miss…because you’re not really missing anything.
- Turn off your notifications. Seriously. Pop ups on your phone? I reeeeeeeally don’t like people telling me what to do or when to do it (look at me being a hypocrite) so I’m definitely not accepting that from a smart phone. For one week, just turn off your notifications. I don’t know about you but I’d be okay with never receiving a late notification from CNN ever again.
- Limit checking your email over the weekend to a specific time during one day.
- Go to dinner and leave your phone in your car.
- Veg out. I don’t really watch TV. Aside from maybe two or three shows, I could go without much of what airs today. If you are like me, maybe take a day to catch up on those shows you’ve missed. I want to get into Downtown Abbey and Suits, too. And for anyone who has live-tweeted during Scandal, you KNOW that it isn’t an easy feat. The time it took you to send a tweet, you’ve already missed a sex and murder scene. What is life?
My mini vacay will be the first time I’m actually getting away in like…a year. Like my best friend says, “I can’t be bothered” this weekend. I’m giving myself a break, my own way.
I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to disconnect and more stories like Baratunde’s to be told. Do you love to read? Do you paint? Killer at playing spades? How do you disconnect? I need more ideas 🙂