I took a vacation last week, and I deliberately unplugged. I checked Twitter once (okay maybe twice), posted one tweet, scanned my daily news summary from Summify on one occasion, but I did not log on to Linked In, did not view my RSS feed or Flipboard. I didn’t “pin” anything, or, horror of horrors, check my work e-mail.
Guess what? I’m still here. I don’t feel any ill effects. So far, I am not suffering any negative consequences. No one has contacted me in a panic, pointedly asking “Where have you been?” I have more than a sneaking suspicion that no one even noticed my absence.
And the Result?
I feel great. I am rested, recharged and raring to go.
Getting back in to the swing of social media is fun. I’m enjoying diving into my channels, rediscovering valued sources, reacquainting myself with my connections and re-immersing myself in the data stream. It’s almost like it’s new again. And I think that’s important, that feeling of “hey this is great – I really missed it”.
Taking a vacation from something is a good thing. It allows you to create distance and develop perspective. You come back fresh, and, possibly better, because you’ve experienced the absence, and, consciously or sub-consciously, have made the decision to return, acknowledging the value it offers.
The opportunity to take a hiatus from the constant bombardment that social media may sometimes become can help you develop more discipline about your usage and help make you more productive. I’m sorry, but checking e-mail while sitting on the throne is carrying multitasking a little too far (and talking on your mobile while there is just downright rude). Everyone needs boundaries.
It’s all about creating reasonable expectations.
Everyone is entitled to vacation. In case you’ve forgotten, the definition of vacation is: a respite or a time of respite from something; a scheduled period during which activity is suspended, or, a period of exemption from work granted to an employee; a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation.
Human beings need time to rest, relax and recharge. I’ve read a number of articles recently that talk about how we are less focused, more prone to procrastination, perhaps even less efficient, because we are juggling too many things and facing too many distractions.
I’m advocating unplugging at regular intervals and for an extended period of time — stay calm, we can talk days here — in order to give ourselves a well deserved break, but also in order to show we can be away with few, to no important consequences. This could help us understand the need to develop an important discipline where immediacy is not a driver. And the benefits of having guidelines and boundaries that may prevent an unhealthy obsession.
I believe we will be just as informed, just as connected, equally involved but better. Better because we’re engaged and enjoying the experience, so we can give and get value. Sort of like the old adage, “Quality over quantity”.
P.S. So what did I miss?