Disconnect to Reconnect.
Let’s face it, we’re hyper-connected. We’re over-connected. We’re pretty much never not-connected. We’ve always been taught that everything should be had in moderation – but it seems that a constant connection to the internet has been left off this list. We live in an increasingly connectivity-dependent society, and while it has some advantages, it’s definitely not natural for us. That’s why it’s important for us to take breaks from connectivity and experience the world. Disconnect to Reconnect.
“Social media demands a lot of us on top of our already demanding lives. So let’s disconnect as we need to and renew our interest and ourselves.” – Simon Mainwaring
The internet has created a new way of life. There are advantages such as easy international communication and study, but there are also various problems associated with this growth. We’ve become dependent. There are even some of us that have become clinically addicted (Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)). For those of us that are not technically addicted, it’s hard to deny the impact that smartphones and the internet have had on our lives.
According to a study by Android app Locket, which monitored the tendencies of 150,000 users, the average smartphone owner checks his or her phone approximately 110 times per day! Larry Rosen, psychologist at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and his colleagues observed students of various age groups as they studied for exams for 15 minutes. They found that majority of these students were only able to focus for about 2 – 3 minutes, before being distracted by checking their phones / apps / Facebook. That’s a problem.
We’re training ourselves to become more and more distracted.
I can personally feel the pull to check my phone or social networking sites. When I’m working on an article, and run into a pause or mini writers block – I get distracted and start browsing the internet. I bet I’m not the only one either. The more we multi-task (read: hop between activities as our brain dictates), the worse we actually become at this being efficient while multi-tasking. We’re essentially training our brain to become impulsive, and less able to concentrate on one task until it is completed.
So we’ve identified the problem, but what’s the solution?
Some people advocate creating a designated off-line block of time in your day. This can beneficial before sleep to allow your brain to calm down and relax. Another great idea I’ve read about is setting up designated off-line days, for example 2 Saturdays or Sundays per month.
With this plan people reported reading more, studying more effectively and being more productive in general. I even read of one guy who took 30 days and disconnected from the internet entirely.
An activity that I find helps me recharge my batteries by disconnecting is to take a trip where I will not have internet access. These can be camping trips, trips to a cabin without internet, or just generally outings in which we leave the city.
As I write this, my girlfriend and I preparing for a week-long trip to the south of Chile with a friend visiting from the US. We will be going to Chiloe, with stops in Puerto Varas, Valdivia, and Chillán.. I will not be updating the blog next week as I take a small break to recharge. This will also allow me the chance to think about the direction of the blog, future posts, and how I can provide more useful information to help support all of you. A small break.
As we commonly mention here – we’re all different. What works for one may be different for another. But I think it’s important that we all find our own way to take a moment to disconnect occasionally. Humans lived for thousands of years before the internet and did well. It’s a recent invention, and is a tool for us to improve our lives, so it should be used as such, it shouldn’t consume our lives. Do you disconnect? How do you do it?
Let’s all remember to take a break and Disconnect to Reconnect.