Digital Detox

Week 4 - turn off all of your usual digital notifications...

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Disaster! I seriously couldn't do this one...

I could talk about being self-employed and needing to be available to pick up the phone to potential work. I could tell you about the day I forgot to turn them off and was glad because my brother texted to see if he could call round (so glad I didn't miss that!). I could tell you I have a schedule for when I check my e-mails and I'm pretty good about sticking to it because I know the value of concentrating on a task (yep, I schedule those blocks, too). I could tell you I don't take my phone to yoga at all, so I have my buzz-free time.

But here's the truth - I like my digital connectivity. I like knowing something exciting could come in any moment, or something funny. When I worked in the corporate world I loved the e-mails that came in that kept me connected to colleagues around the world. (Well, most of the time I loved them...) I loved checking my phone each morning (never took it to bed...) to see what had come in overnight, giving myself my commute to chew on a response or solution so that the team in China could have an answer before they went home. I really miss that now, and the tiny amount of connectivity I have now is precious to me.

I like knowing when my sister is on Facebook so we can have spontaneous messenger chats If I've got a free minute. I like getting the mails that keep me up to date with what's happening in my industry and spark new ideas. I love seeing when my blog has struck a chord with someone.

So I don't want to turn off the flow; you may miss interruptions but you also lose serendipity.

Trying to turn off my notifications left me feeling disconnected and isolated - I work from home, on my own. I rely on the virtual world as my colleagues. So I turned my notifications back on and carried on as I've learned to do over the years. I ignored them when I was doing something more important or didn't want to be interrupted because I knew they'd be there when I checked after finishing..

Incidentally, this approach drove my colleagues nuts back in corporate life - if I was busy with something I didn't answer the phone or e-mail. And busy means thinking just as much as it means talking to someone.

And, reading back over this, I guess mine is a kind of turning off, too, because I choose when and whether I answer the buzz. But I want to be able to hear it and make that decision.

Go to the profile of Vanessa


cat lover, wife, designer, analyst (the spreadsheet kind...), friend, sister, daughter, writer, consultant, lover of beauty...

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