I am reading Leo Babauta’s new book, Focus. This book is another masterpiece by Leo and I can’t wait to share more with you. He has a free and paid version so check it out. FYI – This is not an affiliate link. I am only telling you about it because it’s great and it will help you.
Gwen Bell wrote a chapter in Focus about taking a digital sabbatical that inspired this post. Gwen took a month long digital sabbatical and she is still relevant and still a rock star. I have written about simplifying your social media, and limiting the number of times you check your email, but not about completely disconnecting. The real reason I haven’t written about it, is because I haven’t done it. That is about to change! While I’m not ready for a month off, I am planning on one day a week to get started.
Gwen’s chapter about taking a break from the www includes great how to tips. You will have to read the book to see those, but the following I had to share:
“You will miss things. Unplugged or not, you’re missing something. Unplugging gives you perspective to decide what you don’t want to miss. Focus, by definition, means you choose one thing over another. You give your attention completely to the task at hand, not worrying that you’re missing something.”
So, isn’t that why you don’t unplug? Because you might miss something? What if someone tweets a really cool link and you miss it? What if someone emails you at 8am and you don’t respond right away? The real question is, what are you missing when you are plugged in? What’s going on in the world, your city, in your backyard, or at your child’s school?
I don’t remember the last time I went a whole day without checking email or twitter or Facebook. Even just a glance was enough to get by, but what did I miss? What did I glance away from, and how much time did it take to get back on track? Too long.
And my favorite part from Gwen’s chapter…”Unplugging gives you an opportunity to miss the work you do. Missing is good, it creates a desire to connect at a focused, heart level.” Think about that. Connecting at a focused, heart level is so cool and if we all did it, imagine how that would change the world. I haven’t asked Gwen, but I have to guess that “focused, heart level” came from her yoga mat. I told you yoga can change the world!
Always be on digital sabbatical in your car!
I wrote about my “oh shit” moment a few months ago. I had been driving my daughter home from school, taking work calls, thinking about the next item on my list of things I will never get done, and my daughter is talking about her day. She’s talking about her day, and I’m nodding and throwing in a couple of responses, “really?” “cool!” and a few nods to let her think I am still involved, but by the time we get home, I have no idea what she said. Not only is that embarrassing, but it is really sad that I missed that opportunity to learn something, teach something or just engage and enjoy.
By being connected in my car, I was completely disconnected from my daughter. She deserves my full attention.
In addition to missing time with someone I really care about, I was endangering my life, the lives of my passengers and drivers around me every time I checked a message, sent an email or returned a call in the car. Texting at a red light counts as texting in your car. Please stop. The message can wait.
So, let’s slow down, or just stop as Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging puts it in this video. It is almost 15 minutes long, so save it somewhere so you have time to watch it to the end. It will move you and it might change you.
If you decide to join me in taking a digital sabbatical, read Focus and Gwen’s chapter starting on page 144. Then, pick a day or time frame that works for you. Thanks Leo, Thanks Gwen, Thanks Scott. You’ve moved me and changed me.