Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cut the Cord

Being connected is great. Email, voicemail, cell phones, Internet, … WOW! I recently joined the ranks of the Blackberry Brigade. Now, I don’t even have to be near my computer to check my email and surf the Net. But being constantly connected has its drawbacks.

When cell phones and laptops started becoming so popular, I saw it for what it was – an insidious plot to keep you working all of the time. You can be reached in the evening, on the weekends, on the road and even on vacation!

People expect to be able to reach you all the time. If you aren’t answering the home phone, then try the cell. It doesn’t matter where you are: movies, shopping, driving in a storm, you should always be connected. If you can’t phone, then at the bare minimum, you should be textable. I’ve had people text me from the movies and even from church! Now we can Twitter, so you can let your followers know exactly what you are doing every minute of the day in banal detail – from bathroom breaks to what you are having for breakfast.

But there is something to be said for being occasionally unavailable.

Have you ever left your cell phone at home and secretly savored the thrill of being temporarily off-line? Admit it, you have. It’s nice to be away sometimes. This is why I advocate occasionally going completely off-line sometimes - even if it’s just for an hour or two.

I go half-way offline when I am writing. I don’t answer my phone but I do keep the ringer on. However, on those evenings where I feel completely spent and overworked, I turn off the Blackberry, the computer and the ringers on my phones. I have Caller ID, so I won’t be missing any calls and 9 out of 10 calls aren’t all that important anyway.

You can even take it a step further and turn off the television. Read a book. Take a bath. Just sit there. Enjoy the silence. Enjoy the peace.

Disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself.

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