As I mentioned in a recent blog, I was recently on jury duty. During this time, the judge asked our group of jurors to refrain from social media for the duration of the trial. He said personal email (such as gmail) was OK, but no other kind of social media platform, internet search, etc. (He said there was a juror on a recent trial who was tweeting while they were in the juror box. That made me sad for the people involved in the trial she was serving.)
There were some grumblings from the jury about the mandate, but we all agreed. It felt strange for the first few days, the feeling like you’ve forgotten something but you can’t remember what it was. But I stuck with it and within a matter of a few days, it was only a mild annoyance which became less and less annoying as the days went on. Because life balance is something I think about a lot, I looked forward to no computer, especially at night after dinner, which is a time I will typically sign in. The trial lasted three weeks, and although it was an adjustment to keep from logging in, and there were moments I felt compelled to just “peek” at my email, I didn’t do it. In full disclosure, this wasn’t such a dramatic experience as I’m not online as much as other people may be ordinarily. It just felt “weird”. After I shook off the initial weird feelings, I settled in to feeling more relaxed, grounded, and I read some books I’ve been wanting to read for more than a year. The most prominent, positive feeling I had was one of being able to focus. There weren’t as many things calling out for my attention. I could concentrate more easily, and most of all, I felt more like me.
I worry about the overconsumption of technology on our kids, our friends, and in our social spaces. In my book, I wrote about this phenomenon and the over-presence of technology, including when it interferes with connection at meals.
Even if you don’t have something like jury duty orders to keep you off social media, it’s a good idea to take a scheduled break, just to see how you feel ‘offline’.
Take a moment to think about this…when was the last time you decided to a vacation from technology?
Spring has always represented renewal and feelings of hope for many people. Have you felt recently that you are online too much? Are you surrounding yourself with people or gadgets? Have you thought about signing off for a few days to re-balance your energies? If so, what about now? How about a new kind of Spring Break?
If you decide to do this, start slow. Just stay logged off for a short time (such as a day) and then assess what feels right to you. Think about how much time you really want to devote to being online. When (and if) you get back online, I’d love to hear about your experience.