Are You Always Plugged In?
This blog post came about because I just got back from the beach. A much-needed vacation, with some of my best girlfriends. Before I left, my co-worker dared me to completely unplug and to not open a computer the entire trip. I didn’t. It felt good.
I think Y Pulse said it best: “There’s No Clocking Out When You’re Always Plugged In.” Sometimes I’m not even sure if I know when the work ends and life offline resumes.
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re pretty plugged in to the online world. I work at an online company, circled around blogging and social media so it’s part of my everyday life. I rarely turn my phone off, I receive my e-mails, Twitter and Facebook notifications on my Blackberry (which is almost always on me) not to mention the texts that come through. I’m always thinking about my next blog post, I can learn about most of my friends’ every move on Facebook, we upload photos and write status updates about our lives. We live in a digital age and especially if you’re Generation Y, you know what I’m talking about. We grew up online.
How does this affect our daily life? Our health? Our personal relationships? Although it doesn’t have to be negative, I can’t help but think about the downfalls. These are some of the steps I take to ensure that I have some peace of mind.
1) Once a week (usually Saturday) I plug out. I wrote this as a New Year’s Resolution this year and about 80% of the time, I do it. I don’t open my computer, I don’t go on Twitter, I don’t get on Facebook. If my phone is on me, it’s for the phone calls I need to make that day. Most importantly, I am active and doing something that doesn’t involve technology. You have NO idea how good this feels, by plugging out I am recharged.
2) If you’re out at night or eating dinner with friends, set your phone in your purse or pocket. I can’t tell you how many times I go out and see a group of girls, all sitting together but holding their phones texting away. Personal interaction is important. I understand using your phones while you’re out, but sometimes, leave them be for a bit. Concentrate on what is physically present.
3) Find time with your friends that aren’t technologically savvy. This means the conversation doesn’t involve phrases like, “DM” “Tweet” or “trackback link for my blog.”
4) Finally, if you’re going (or planning) a vacation concentrate on leaving some work behind, or at least leaving your computer and e-mailing for only one of the days. Remember it’s a vacation for a reason.
I think it’s important to recognize that when we’re plugged in, we’re somewhere else. I firmly believe in staying present to where you are but being able to balance the online world that we so often find ourselves consumed with.
Do you feel it necessary to plug out from the online world? It worries me, because I think it’s a practice that will not sustain, as the online world grows. Thoughts?