So I went hiking this past weekend, and yet, I feel more like Thoreau-going-into-the-woods when I am sitting at home than ever before...
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
- Henry David Thoreau, Walden
You see, I have not had cable at my house for over a year and a half. Like a lot of cord cutters in the digital age, I'm not a big live/sports events watcher...and find it fairly easy on the occasions I do want to watch the SuperBowl or Golden Globes or Oscars to find friends who will host me in exchange for snacks/wine/good company. With better HD antennas available, and new over-the-top (OTT) services coming out left and right (and winning the Best of CES award), I'm one of oh-so-unbelievably-many frustrated former cable subscribers. For about a year, I was your classic OTT watcher....streaming my favorite shows on Hulu the day after they aired, streaming movies on Amazon Instant Video and Netflix....
Disclosure: I happened to be moving when Time Warner fueded with CBS here in LA so took it as an opportunity to say sayonara to the company that raised my bill inexplicably (holla at Cable Tipster for solving this problem for peeps!) and gave me terrible hardware that didn't work and wouldn't replace. Considering their handling of the Dodgers/SportsNet issue...they appear to have learned nothing...
But here's what's going to really bake your noodle....for about 2 months now, I've also stopped having internet/wifi connectivity at home as well. Yes, I am disconnected (gasp!) I know what you're thinking..."oh that's why she's terrible at posting regularly on this blog" (truth!)....but seriously...you are most likely thinking "aack! how extreme! I couldn't possibly live that way!" And some of you are right. If you work from home or are job searching...wifi at your house is probably necessary. But I'm here to tell you, if you are like me and sitting in front of a computer all day, every day at work....going disconnected at home is a wonderful way to create space in your life. I've read the magazines I never used to have time for, and books recommended by friends. My house is more organized, clean, put together than ever....I'm spending more time cooking meals/trying new things...and I feel like I have more restful time (feet up!) than I ever did. I can still get emails or websurf on my phone or on my iPad when I turn on cellular data. I still download my favorite shows when I am connected to wifi to watch later.
Instead of falling off a cliff, it has felt more like a natural progression...an extension of the thinking that led me to be a cord cutter in the first place. And while it may not be permanent in my life, here's why finding ways to unplug and disconnect is worth a try...
Photo courtesy of theworldunplugged
Why Go Unplugged & How
(Thank you and mad props to Forbes for the source article and FastCo for an entire #unplug series plus guidebook!)
- STRESS. Connectivity on technology is stressful....so measurably stressful the literature dubs it technostress. I remember a time when emails were coming at me from worldwide territories reporting in data and I felt my blood pressure rise just pulling out my phone. That constant connectedness and responding puts pressure on ourselves and on our colleagues. More pressure than is necessary and productive. We all need time away from emails to decompress...and checking in frequently disrupts that critical recharge time.
SOLUTION: Set boundaries on your work (and personal) email/app/device checking...I urge you to make rules around not checking at meal times, in the morning, in the evening after a certain hour and only a few times on weekends. Make it clear to those who are critical (your boss!) that if something is urgent, they should be expected to use an alternate way to reach you than email....which will help alleviate stress on yourself. Use your phone's Do Not Disturb function regularly!
- FOCUS. Armed with tech/mobile tech we think we're fantastic multi-taskers...checking and directing our lives in all directions simultaneously....but we're not. Really. You are not good at this. Studies actually show that people who think they are great multi-taskers are actually the worst. Quickly jumping from task to task is actually associated with less concentration, impulsivity, and those folks are more likely to act without thinking. SOLUTION: Do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking takes a lot of energy in and of itself, and a better, more effective and efficient strategy is to focus on one task at hand, then move onto the next. Practice this enough to make it a habit!
- SLEEP. Apart from the inability for your brain to slow down/shut off in order to get good shuteye, research shows that the light from our screens actually causes our body's seratonin and melatonin levels to get off balance such that we have disrupted sleep patterns. SOLUTION: Don't allow more than a glance at your device prior to bedtime (and yes, set a regular time to go to bed!). Avoid any and all prolonged screen exposure 2 hours before you want to sleep.
Are you inspired to unplug a bit and disconnect? What do you find easiest to do from this list?