When you work in social media, public relations, and marketing, you’re probably glued to some device at all times. You could make the same statement for just about any field or person these days, too. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, or random blogs, I feel like I’m always checking something, scrolling through something, or reading something. There are, of course, benefits to my addiction, but sometimes it is best to live life (or at least a couple days) unplugged.
Last week, my laptop charger broke and I was without a laptop until I could find a replacement. I did still have my phone in hand, but ridding myself of one large screen for a few days was, truth be told, a relief. I find myself immersed in my computer and smartphone sometimes, and I don’t like it. When my laptop is open or nearby, I feel like I have to be working. There is always something to work on. The irony is that despite always feeling like I have to work, I also feel constantly distracted when working online. One BuzzFeed article here, an acquaintance’s Facebook status there.. It’s always sucking you in.
In addition to going laptop-free for a week, I also tried turning off my phone or leaving it behind for hours at a time. For me, this is a bold move, but something I felt I needed to try.
So, what did I discover from my unplugged hours? I was calmer. At first, I felt uneasy.. What if somebody needs to get ahold of me? But those thoughts faded to ones of contentness. Being a highly anxious person, this calmness helped me to enjoy time with friends rather than being on edge and let my mind settle down after a long day rather than stay in a heightened, overthinking state. I also found that my time spent working or online later were much more productive. No longer was I clicking link after link on Twitter (okay, maybe one BuzzFeed article..), but I felt the urgency of the task at hand.
It may not be feasible to go every day unplugged, but when the weather is nice or your mind is too cluttered, it’s nice to take a breather from technology.