The following is a guest post by Zack Shapiro.
Over to you Zack:
Humankind has never been more linked together than we are today. And tomorrow, we’ll be even more connected.
With the increasing levels of connectivity, we became slaves to our means of digital outreach. Facebook, blogging, Twitter, email, Skype and the list goes on and on.
Chances are you suffer from being incredibly over-connected to at least one of the tools listed above.
It’s time to begin to break away. If it sounds scary, don’t worry. We’ll take baby steps.
As with any change in habits small steps are important towards reaching your goal of being digitally free. Jumping into things cold turkey often leads to a relapse because we can’t mentally commit.
My foray into digital relaxation began with No Email Saturdays, where, as the name suggests, I take a break from email for one-seventh of the week.
At first it was harder than I imagined it would be. I had no problem leaving Mail alone on my laptop but I forgot to turn off the email on my iPhone. That meant I was constantly checking my phone not to see what the email was but to see if I had gotten anymore. As the day went on and the number of unread emails climbed higher I was no better off than digging into the actual emails themselves.
There was still digital weight on my mind. This you do not want.
If you’re apprehensive about cutting the cord remember this: unless you work for an organization that requires you to be connected all the time, you don’t need to be.
Sure an email on Wednesday morning about Friday’s meeting may be an important one but ask yourself this, “What could I possibly get on Saturday that can’t be taken care of on Sunday?
Leave the Mail our Outlook icon alone, don’t go to your webmail and turn all email on your phone off. Every phone has a way to switch it off without deleting precious accounts or stored email. Leave it all alone.
If you find yourself itching to see what’s waiting in your inbox remember this: You have to physically allow yourself to check your email. Be strong. I believe in you.
It has been a little over a month now with No Email Saturdays and I love the concept. It frees my mind from whatever’s coming up and I trust that whatever I get on Saturday can be dealt with later. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be connected at all times.
Now I’m ready to take the next step: No SocMed (Social Media) Saturdays.
You may not be able to get to me by email on Saturdays but you can still get my attention through my blog, an @reply on my Twitter account, a comment on Flickr, etc. So I’m still connected; I’m still checking.
Next Saturday I plan to cut out the blogging. The following week, Twitter. Those are my big two. Identify yours and make a plan. Set goals based on your level of comfort after realizing what the extra free time means.
Go outside. Spend time with friends. Watch TV without your computer around. Read a book. Go for a run. Have some fun.