In the past five years technology has almost tripled in efficiency and productivity. We have continuity across all devices, whether it’s your laptop, your smart phone, or your tablet. It’s amazing! You can continue to work on your research on your phone even though you’ve shut down your computer and have gone mobile.
You can call your friend who is on her yearly trip to Europe, or some place exotic, and talk to her via video chat. Technology is amazing. We’re accomplishing things we’ve never done before.
And yet …
And yet, there are times I feel too connected.
You receive a text from your significant other, but your hands are busy at the moment soaked with dishwashing soap because you’re cleaning the kitchen so you don’t check your text. But two minutes later your phone is ringing because you didn’t text back.
You receive notification from your Facebook feed and ignore it because you’re reading your assignments. A couple of minutes later you receive another notification from your Twitter feed and ignore it because, again, you’re reading your assignments. And yet, another minute later you receive a notification that five emails have come through.
Are we too plugged in? Too connected?
Quite simply, we are. Or at least some of us are. I know I am, that’s for sure.
I have a two Facebook accounts (one for my blog and other personal), I have a Twitter account, an Instagram, SnapChat, About.me, Google+, and I won’t even tell you how much emails accounts.
And I’d like to say that I am able to manage all of it in a way that I create balance in my life. Most times I do, sometimes I don’t.
But I do believe now and then you have to unplug.
And how do you do that?
I admit, it’s challenging, but here are a few things I do to unplug.
- I make it a point not to touch my phone or any mobile device when I’m eating, especially if it’s at family dinner – Call me old fashion, but accepting phone calls or watching TV during dinner time was strictly forbidden when I was younger. My parents made it a point to sit us all down for dinner and that was all we did. Eat dinner and talk about our day. No phone calls were taken and the television stayed off. I keep this tradition to this day, especially if my family is eating out. I’m serious. My phone stays in my purse. So does the iPad.
- I make it a point to schedule down time – I schedule at least an hour or two of everyday when I turn off all electronics. No TV, no computer, no iPads. My phone stays on only for emergencies and I only answer it if it’s family during this time. This is hard during the week since work takes up most of the day and I am a part-time student whose classes are online, but I definitely do this on the weekends. Instead of waking up and turning on the TV or booting up the computer, I grab a book or a magazine and read. Or I grab paper and write letters. Or I grab my journal and write. The important thing is to stay offline during this time.
- I make it a point to go outside – I know this sounds simple enough but when I first thought of this, I realize just how hard it was for me to actually step outside. Half the day would go by before I realized I hadn’t set foot outside. To change this habit, I started scheduling it with my down time and instead of reading in bed, I’d take my book outside. I’d leave my phone in the house and just sit outside for 30 minutes or so.
- I make it a point to wear a watch – Even this sounds simple enough, but how many times have you pulled out your phone to check the time and then saw your email notifications or your social media notifications and decided you’ll just skim your email or just check to see why Facebook flagged you. Before you know it, it took you ten minutes to check the time? If you wear a watch, you won’t have the need to check your phone or any of your mobile devices.
- I make it a point to get involved – This may be hard. It was hard for me. I’m introvert and spending time by myself is easy peasy for someone like me. Attending community meetings was a step out of my comfort zone. And it took me a while to actually speak up and contribute at these meetings, but I found myself going two hours without a computer or phone. And the bonus is I get to meet interesting people. Getting involved, whether it’s a community meeting, or volunteering at the local hospital, is a great way to unplugged and instead make connections. Real connections.
In a world where people are heavily reliant on their technology to get through the day, I believe it’s even more important to unplug now and then. And if you’re an active user like I am, unplugging for days at a time may not be realistic. Instead, take it in stride. Thirty minutes here, an hour there. Unplugging helps you reconnect with yourself and others. Unplugging support a healthy and balanced life.