This is the start of a blogging mechanics series I’m going to run on Sundays. A lot of the posts will be based on the emails I get from other bloggers asking how to do certain things.
At the end of 2013, I spent five days on a silent retreat in the middle of nearly nowhere. I do that every year as a way to reflect on the year before and a way to reset for the year ahead. As part of those days I decided to go on a tech cleanse; ridding myself of all the things I cling to on a daily basis, the things I usually feel like I can’t live without. I set up an out-of-office message on all three email accounts and I switched my iPhone into airplane mode to cut off all wireless signal. I left my iPad, camera and computer behind.
I was surprised at how amazing it felt to set up my email away messages. When they were cued up I felt a weight lifted off of me knowing I didn’t need to worry, look, or think of the pending emails for several days. I felt less tied down, less tethered by the cords and pieces of technology that I left behind.
Yes, day one was difficult. Heck, they all were. I felt the urge to reach for my phone multiple times a day. I wanted to look at the weather report to see if it would keep snowing. I craved to skim the latest headlines and blog posts. I itched to check my Twitter and Instagram feeds. Momentarily, I wondered if I was missing anything crucial in the world and in my inbox.
But after I returned home and dug back in I realized two things. One: The world doesn’t stop even if you step away from it for a while. Two: Even after reconnecting, it was easier to concentrate and focus on pretty much everything in my life.
There is a certain beauty in a tech cleanse.
I think it’s something everyone should do at least once yearly. Often we get too caught up in the little devices and in the social media outlets we’re connected to. We feel the need to constantly be in the know, to share everything, to see everything, to be ‘everywhere.’ But let’s be honest… we don’t need to reply to every email within the hour. We don’t need to know every little headline or news item. We don’t need to read every tweet or see every picture posted.
Nothing happens if we miss days or a week of all of this. In fact something good can happen when we miss the days. The mind gets a chance to reset, to clear. The ADD feeling of too many internet tabs open and too many social media accounts to update goes away. The tension of the immediate and the now is eased, allowing us to focus on the important things.
Have you done a tech cleanse of sorts? Has it helped?