Posts Tagged technology

Life Unconnected…

Some Facebook friends were reminiscing recently about the pre-personal computer era with some fondness. Most baby boomers are well acquainted with typewriters, mimeos, fax machines – old tech. Frankly, I do not share the nostalgic feeling these relics evoke. I adore cut & paste, spell check, HTML. PHP, research on-line – and the absence of rubber cement, white-out, waxers, rubylith and all the mess design used to entail.

I love my computer and the instant gratification it provides – my designs, in color and live on the web; my writing, in print not just ‘typewritten,’ as well as the benefit of near-instant communication with anyone anywhere. Am I a social media junkie? Not exactly. As a designer, I spend a lot of time with Adobe products. I write, so, therefore, I am an information junkie. Distraction by tweets and posts happen occasionally, but not obsessively.

If I miss anything about the low-tech era, it would be the physical separation from these tools. I rarely have a day that I do not turn on my computer. Whether working or not, email, Facebook, and Twitter feeds at worse, are glanced at. A note is sent, a show watched, a post commented on, a game played perhaps. Not too long ago, technology was left at work or in the home office for ‘work hours.’ My extracurricular tools were pencil and paper or a camera – nothing that connected me to an entirely different realm. Time with technology was scheduled into life, not something my life revolved around.

Having opportunities to be unplugged has shown me how important scheduling computer time into my life is rather than just having that tool available 24/7. Being disconnected –  on a trip to Haiti; during Super Storm Sandy; on a sudden trip to visit a hospitalized relative in another state, for example – showed me another state of being present which I’d lost somewhere along the way. The urgency to read, to post, to connect, slipped away, slowly, but the freedom was refreshing. I was more eager to connect with (real) people. I did not have to share, Google stuff, or keep up with training videos. And best thing – I could still write and draw with some lovely low tech tools.

Now, I have one computer-free day a week. I don’t even have the urge to check my email. If I want to share, I make a phone call, instead of tweeting. Now, I schedule personal social media time, during my work day, time instead of always just being on-line and available. The noise of the web is minimized, controlled, and not as important as it once seemed. My head is clearer and I feel more focused. I’ve even begun to leave my phone at home – much to the amazement of the (much younger) people with whom I work.

It’s true that technology has made life a lot easier, but I lost sight of how important it had become. My tech-free day helps me keep life and relationships in perspective and that’s a good thing for someone who works at home. On a computer. All day.

As I was getting ready click the publish button on this note, I noticed that Lois Alter Mark of StyleSubstanceSoul.com posted a video that expresses the joy of a tech-free life. And I get it, I really do. Could the marketer and writer in me let go this much? Very tempting, as Lois commented. Very tempting.

 

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