As a self-proclaimed lover of all things digital, I am the first to boast the benefits of being connected and all the great things that it has brought to my life…like these lovely ladies:
However, I’ll also admit that far too often I find myself staring at screens for the majority of my day and by the time 3 p.m. rolls around, the last thing I want to do is keep staring at the soul-sucking screen in my cube, or go home and get back on the computer to work, pay bills, watch TV, blog, whatever. On top of my own screen and connectivity overkill, Chicken Face has been known to try and steal my phone, proclaim I have an Internet addiction, and admonish me for not being in the moment and instead locking myself in Internet seclusion.
I’ve been feeling this way for a while and when I stumbled upon this New York Times article, The Joy of Quiet, it was affirmed: I need to do something about my screen intoxication.
But how does that happen when the thing I am trying to purge is the thing that I love so much, let alone the thing that my career is built around?! Am I going to stop working, stop blogging, stop Tweeting, stop Facebooking, stop Instagraming, stop watching my favorite shows, stop reading my Kindle? Absolutely not. Instead, I want to devise a new “screen solution.” Here are the some of the steps I’m going to try and put in place to ensure that I still feed my addiction, but will also ensure that I’m living in the moment, enjoying real face-to-face time with people around me, and of course, living adventurously:
- If I’m going to be connected, make it count. My professional career is built around being online and social connectivity, so I can’t escape that, nor would I want to because it’s what I love. So during the work day is a wash, but when I come home, no more aimlessly perusing the Internet. I can blog, check out Google Reader, post my Facebook photo of the day and do regular housekeeping (bills, photo uploads, etc.), but beyond that, I’m going to vow to spend time training, taking Lola on a walk, cleaning, whatever. Just don’t be mindless with my time.
- Take breaks. Speaking of work, far too often I’ll go 10 straight hours without getting off the Internet unless it’s for food or a bathroom break. I think this is the culprit of my 3 p.m. meltdowns. Thus, I’m vowing to try and take (gasp!) actual lunch breaks. Go outside, see what non-artificial light (a.k.a. the sun) feels like, and just clear my head. The nice break will leave me recharged for part two of the workday.
- Eat at the table. Chicken Face and I like TV, plain and simple. We love it so much that our DVR, couch and living room table (with a side of iPhone goodness) have replaced an actual dinner, at an actual table, with an actual conversation. No more! I want to have dinner at the table, just the three of us (yes, I’m counting Lola) and simply eat and talk as often as we can. What a novel idea.
- Reclaim the weekend. I won’t make any foolish claims about not going online during the weekend – that’s just crazy talk. But instead, I want to live in the real world and live adventurously. Maybe I’ll “forget” my phone when we go out somewhere. I’m usually quieter on Twitter and other microblogging platforms over the weekend and I think I’ll keep it this way.
- Blog with purpose. One of the things I won’t give up is blogging. I love it for more reasons than I will go into now, but sometimes I almost feel guilty, like all I’m doing is talking about myself. That too is another debate that I won’t open up at the moment, but I want to ensure that none of my blog posts are the equivalent of “junk miles” and that they provide some sort of value to myself or to those who read it. This is where I’d love your help, what would you like to see more of/less of on Twenty-Six & Then Some? I would love to hear your opinion!
So there it is folks, a few steps that I hope to take this year to help myself live adventurously and in the moment. Do you think you suffer for screen/connectivity overload? What do you do to manage it?