I recently shared one of Anne Lamott’s quotes on my Facebook page:
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…
including you.” — Anne Lamott
It shouldn’t have surprised me when so many people Liked the post. It resonated with many of us who long to unplug from this technological whirlwind of life we are caught up in. Those of us of a certain age actually remember a time when our lives were naturally unplugged. When time felt slower…days flowed smoother.
Let me tell you what happened when I was forced to unplug for a day.
It happened a few days after posting that quote (be careful what we wish for, eh?). I turned on my computer and the hard drive crashed. Hard.
I tried everything I knew to get it to boot up again. I called my hubby and he gave me suggestions. Nothing worked.
I figured I would be heading to the computer store for the day. We discussed the fact I could use his computer, and of course I have my smart phone…
Then my hubs asked me this, “Do you think you can do without your computer today? I’d like to look at it tonight and see if I can recover the hard drive, before you take it in to the Apple store.”
Anne Lamott’s quote came to mind and I thought, “Yeah, why NOT unplug for the day?” I sent quick little emails (from my smart phone) to my clients who expected contact with me that day and let them know my situation. Everyone was understanding and compassionate.
Then I stood in the middle of my office and stared…a little lost.
Well, there was no need to sit down at my desk to work. So I grabbed my coffee cup and headed to the living room. As I walked through the rooms it struck me. Hours stretched out before me. The kind of hours I remember having in the BC days (Before Computers). I have often lamented to my hubby that I do not understand why I have less time in a day now compared to when I was raising two small boys, tending a huge garden, canning food, sewing, cooking and cleaning. This has never made sense to me. But at that moment I could clearly see why it has changed. I now spend my day sitting in front of a computer, staring at the screen.
So, instead of sitting at my desk, I read a magazine article while I sipped my morning coffee and watched the birds.
I breathed. What a great way to start the day! Mid-morning I sat outside and worked on writing this blog post. As I went about my chores during the course of the day I took note of how relaxed my body felt while in movement, how energy flowed and increased as stress left, how my mind cleared. This is how I remember the days before we became so tied to our devices. Before we were expected to be available to all people, at all times.
Today everything is instantaneous.
We receive text messages and we think they have to be answered immediately. In fact, we’ve deemed them so important that people die and kill others while driving and texting. How crazy is that?! Emails, comments on Facebook, Tweets…the list goes on and on. During the course of the day we are being pulled in a gazillion different directions, all at the same time. No wonder so many of us dream of being unplugged!
But the reality is, I do need to work on my computer for my business.
I create websites, I interact with clients and write novels. I’m expected to be active in Social Media to support my business and my writing. This is the career I’ve chosen and enjoy.
But being unplugged for a day taught me that I don’t have to be constantly ON.
I can occasionally walk away from the computer—no, it’s imperative I walk away from the computer throughout the day. Take a break. Go outside. Breathe!
I also started seeing how often I get sucked into that vortex of reading post after post on Facebook, scanning tweets, watching videos…you get the idea. And you know what I’m talking about. Now I am more cognizant of slipping into that realm. It’s easy to let it happen…because we don’t have to think. We simply click buttons and we believe we’ve accomplished something. I’m training myself to recognize this for what it really is—a giant time suck. I step away from the computer. Get my mind clear again.
I’ve also added some tools (Like Buffer) which allow me to spend a short amount of time in the morning setting up Social Media postings for the day, and then it drip feeds them out to the world during the course of the day, without me being around.
I’m hand writing my blogs again (for the first draft) while I sit outside getting some fresh air. I’m taking breaks to walk or exercise. And most important, I’m making room for some quality time with friends and family.
The work will always be there.
Life won’t always be there—take time to make the most of it!
So, I’ve given myself a challenge to set aside one full day a week when I completely unplug from Social Media. I’ll be writing…taking a walk…recharging. I’ll let you know how it goes.