This week while in Tunisia, a part from a few international text messages, I unplugged myself from technology, making the getaway a true break. It was incredible the effect few days of unplugging had on my mental state. Partly because I was immersed in a new place and discovering a new surrounding, but being disconnected made me feel so free and my thoughts were much more clear and creative.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being connected via technology as much as the next person, if not more. Heck, I somehow managed to get Internet connection in my village house that didn’t have running water! Usually, I check email constantly, and like most students, I procrastinate with Facebook. In addition, I blog and I tweet. When I’m alone, I’m often signed onto instant messenger, perhaps as a way to feel the virtual presence of my friends.
Because I am always connected, I maintain relatively good contact with friends from around the world. And through various social media channels, I’ve been connected to some fascinating people. The constant connection can sometimes feel like an addiction. It takes a lot of effort for me to consciously shut everything off and focus on one task. I have yet figured out why it is so difficult. The fear of missing out? I’m not sure.
Yet while I was away, I had no desire to have any access. I was completely content to live in the present and enjoy the moments as they passed. Why then, is it so hard for me to do the same in the “real world”?
In the past few days, I finally had time to read the book that my friend Katie had so graciously sent me. It amazes me that I have friends in this day in age who would send me a book just because they saw it and thought of me! Anyway, the title is Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire written by Mireille Guiliano – the author who also wrote the popular book, French Women Don’t Get Fat which I’ve yet read but will order a copy soon!
The book talks about women succeeding in a man’s business world from a lifestyle angle. Appropriately enough, it talks a lot about being in the present in life since time is the most valuable commodity and also being comfortable in one’s skin – être bien dans sa peau. As I get older, I feel that time is passing ever so quickly. It’s thus important to cultivate the ability to take the most away from every moment and not be distracted and pulled in so many directions in today’s multi-tasking world.
I had a clear mindset and felt very positive after the lovely vacation and great reminders from the book, but as soon as I got home and replugged myself in technology, I feel trapped. This afternoon, I was determined to tackle the nearly 300 unread messages in my inbox that have been accumulated throughout the term. Talk about serious information overload. Half way through the 300 messages, I seriously wished I was unplugged again.
How do you manage your online-offline balance? Do you also take occasional breaks to unplug?