8 Simple Ways to Take a Technology Break
Celestine Chua | Dumb Little Man
January 04, 2011
We live in a highly digital world today. Our work requires us to use the internet in one way or another. We readily turn to emails, social media and chat messengers for daily communications, sometimes more so than face-to-face contact. Not only that, with 3G and wireless technology, we can now be connected even when we’re on the go.
I’m probably a good example of what you’d call a web junkie. I’m connected to the web almost all the time, whether I’m at home, working or on the go. For one, a lot of my work is based online. I run a personal development blog which I update regularly; I do 1-1 coaching with international clients via Skype and recently I started courses online too. In my leisure time, I surf interesting sites, watch online videos and chat with others. When I’ve nothing to do, my first instinct is get on the web to see what’s available.
Counter-productive effects of being connected
While I found this 24/7 connectivity useful initially, after a while it felt more distracting than helpful. For example, when I’m online, I’d catch myself checking my emails, Twitter, Facebook, blog stats, etc., for updates every 10-15 minutes, even though I’m in the middle of other work.
The excessive connectivity has created false urgency where I feel the need to know what’s happening lest I miss something important. Not only that, the web is so vast that it’s easy to get lost in the surfing. In reading a site, one link leads to the next, and the next, and before I know it I’ve already spent a good chunk of time surfing sites that are not related to what I’m supposed to do. This would happen several times throughout the day.
It was counter-productive – While it seemed like i was very busy switching between checking/replying websites and doing my work, I wasn’t getting much done. Administrative and micro-work yes, but not the important stuff.
Taking breaks from the digital world
So lately I tried an experiment to take a break from the digital world. Rather than work online, I disconnected and went to a quiet spot to work. There was a huge difference. Interestingly, these short, 45-60 minute breaks easily became my most productive hours for the day. My thoughts flow much easier; I’m not thinking about anything except about what I’m working on; I’m more big picture focused, and there’s just nothing distracting me.