Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Can You Unplug?

Its amazing how much we all are "on" these days in our lives.  It is very difficult to fully unplug.  I mean, look at how many smart phones, tablets, PC's and other devices we are using these days.  So my question is "can you unplug?"

I thought I could, but then I realize that my work email never fully stops.  With people in different time zones and on different projects, it truly never ends.  Yes, it may slow down, but the darn pesky thing just keeps showing up at all hours of the day and night.

I thought I could unplug, but then I get hooked on a message thread with Facebook, or instead of someone giving me a call, they instant message me on Facebook.  Most of the time it isn't that critical, but sometimes it is.  So again, I'm not sure I can fully walk away from it.

Then there are those text messages or phone calls that a long lost friend sends to you.  Yes, I'm sure if it had waited that long, it could probably wait some more.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure we as humans could resist the temptation to be on the phone if we had not heard from someone in a long time.

It would be nice to just shut the phone off or put it on silent for a week, but what if someone needs to reach me.  Most people have my cell number as the only phone.  In fact, it is now now my work/office number and business number.  If I shut it off, would I miss scheduling an appointment or something a boss expected out of me in short notice?

Some days, I want to smash my phone to bits.  I don't want anything to do with it.  Can I unplug from it?  I don't know, its gotten tougher for me these days.

Some may tell me that you just need to set boundaries with your job and your clients.  Unfortunately, if techs are working in the field and need help, I am required to be available.  If my clients call and need to schedule an appointment or have issues coming up, I need to be there for them.  It isn't a case of the ego getting the best of me, its just the nature of what I do.

I realize some people just want to stay with fingers and eyes glued to their smart phones and tablets.  It isn't necessarily that they have to, but they desire to do this.  Its almost like they can't break away.  There's a little difference between this behavior and what I experience.

Believe me, I would rather be able to escape my phone ringing and text messages coming through and emails arriving into my inbox.  I never wanted it to get this way.  I was always one of those that would claim I never got the "page" when I worked for one company where we all had pagers.  I'm somewhat of a rebel when it comes to my own personal time and being disturbed.

My hope is that I can get to a point where the phone isn't always on.  I'd love to go for a walk in the woods, lay on the beach or just take a week's vacation and not think about emails, text messages, or phone calls.

In some ways, it is sad that we've become so dependent on being connected 100% of the time.  We're losing that silence that we so badly need.  I'm a firm believer that if the mind and body doesn't get down time, it will suffer.  I can see some of those effects in myself.  What will happen as technology advances in the future?

Can you unplug?  Can you take days or weeks and totally shut your phone and internet devices (including the computer)?  If you can, I applaud you because this is a healthy thing to do.  If you can't, don't feel alone because others like myself are struggling with this very issue.  May we all find the right balance in how connected we are to save our mind and body.

Blog Post And Images (c) 10/6/14 by Don Shetterly

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