I’m about to reveal to you the secret of my sanity.
OK, let’s rephrase that. Let’s call it the secret to my relatively low level of insanity.
My Secret is Tuesdays.
I love Tuesdays. It’s my one weekday that is different from the rest.
- It’s the day of my weekly chiropractor appointment
- It’s Library Day
- It’s my weekly appointment with my mentor for our discipleship study.
Finally–and most significantly–
- It’s the day I unplug from the computer all day.
No email, facebook, blogging, twitter, networking, marketing, research, site maintenance, or other problem-solving in the online world. And yes, no chatting with friends, reading favorite blogs, or enjoying a lovely email from a friend.
No, it’s my day to pretend the online world doesn’t exist, and to wholly focus on my family. Unplugging allows me to gain perspective on my computer time and the effect I allow it to have on the rest of my week.
I’ll admit that there are usually some withdrawal symptoms and definitely the occasional inconvenience. By the end of the day, I miss it, and sometimes get stressed about the extra work I’ll have to do on Wednesday. But withdrawal and stress are indications to me that I’ve been spending too much time online and committing to too much, which proves all the more that I need this time off.
But let’s talk about the benefits!
- Stress levels plummet. For a whole day, I’m released from online obligations and the effort to keep my computer time and the rest of my life balanced. This is a daily struggle I gladly embrace because I believe the benefits of being online are worth the work. But on Tuesdays I get the day off. Whatever project I’m working on, however behind I am on emails, whatever my online presence is requiring of me, I get to check out completely.
- I gain hours in my day. The two hours I usually designate for online pursuits are free to work on other projects. I feel room to breathe. I get some good reading done, and make progress on goals that usually get pushed to the side in the squeeze of my normal routine.
- I regain perspective. When I’m too close to something, it’s hard to focus on the big picture. Backing away allows one to see everything more clearly. When I back up from the computer, things that were on the fringes of my vision slide into focus and I can see everything else that’s important in my life. I take a deep breath and my resolve is strengthened to keep the computer from invading every hour of my day.
- My mind clears. Instead of focusing on productivity every moment of the day, I find my mind relaxing and switching into a more creative lane. Lines of poetry sometimes occur, or inspiration for a studio project. With a reduction in ‘noise’ I usually hear the gentle voice of my Father more clearly. I remember what life was like before technology. (In case you can’t remember, I’ll give you a glimpse in one word: peace)
So, do you want to try it? Maybe a whole day is impossible for you, because your job requires being online. That’s OK – you can choose to take an evening off a week. Perhaps you don’t feel you really need a break. I would argue that if you go online every day, even if it’s only for a short time, you would benefit from a day off. If it will significantly affect your business or an important relationship, then make your clients aware you don’t answer emails on a certain day, announce it to your friends on facebook, and remind them both you can be reached by phone. Your network will adjust. I’ve been unplugging on a weekly basis for nearly a year and it hasn’t yet killed me or had any negative consequences to relationships or my business.
Just do it. Block off a few hours or an entire day a week and unplug. I dare you to experience the peace of unplugging.
Edited 9/20/13–>since this post was written, I’ve transitioned Wednesday being my usual unplug day. I’ve been doing this for nearly 3 years and it continues to benefit my life!
P.S. I love Tiny Twig’s post on 5 ways to fuel creativity–I goes right along with one of the reasons I unplug–so I can get into my creativity mode.
Photo Courtesy of splorp