Web 2.0 Wednesday: Create a Web 2.0 "Icebreaker" Activity
Web 2.0 Wednesday: How Do You Manage Your Online Time?

A Much Needed Break

As you can tell, I took an unplanned, but much needed break from being online for the past several days. For the first few days I felt guilty. By Saturday, though, I decided that the fact that I had little desire to be online was a feeling I should honor. Sometimes you just have to spend more time in the "real world." With that extra time I:

  • Spent time with my daughters. My 20-year old just returned from her 2-week drive across country, which included a stop at the DNC where she was able to get a press pass and be down on the floor for Hillary's speech. Very exciting. Less exciting was the fact that Jess got in a car accident 90 minutes from home--hugely ironic given that she'd already driven several thousand miles. Luckily no one was hurt.
  • Cleaned up my office. Since I moved, I've been trying to keep things more clutter-free in my work space, but when I have a lot of different projects going on, papers and post-its tend to build up. As my work space becomes more cluttered, so do my thinking processes, so I definitely needed to create some more space.
  • Wrote in my journal. As part of my Artist's Way project, I'm writing at least three pages each morning in my journal. I was disturbed to find that many (most?) mornings when I wake up I'm thinking of problems and complaints. This is not a good way to start the day. I've vowed to look at ways to wake up in a more positive frame of mind. Any suggestions?
  • Sat on my patio. After 5 years of apartment living, I'm VERY glad to be back in a house with easy access to my little patio. There's something about the sun and plants that's very restorative to the soul.

The off-line time was most definitely needed and well worth it. I think I need to build more of it into my life because when I spend too much time online, I tend to become much more reactive and lose sight of some of my own thinking. My brain starts to feel overfilled and it becomes more difficult to think. Just like I need to clear out the physical clutter, I also need to build in time to rid myself of a lot of the mental clutter.

Comments

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Interesting. I find I have the opposite reaction. I have so many half (baked?) ideas floating around in my head when I am forced off-line, I have trouble concentrating. Blogging and searching for information helps me to clear out my head of those ideas, doubts, musings, etc... so I can focus on more important things (like what we're going to have for dinner, what I'm going to teach tomorrow, and which kid is where).

I know what you mean about thinking about problems and complaints first thing in the morning, it puts you in a more negative state of mind. I've found that by (initally) putting a sign by my bed with a favourite feel-good or power quote puts me in a great mood and I find myself thinking about more positive/creative things rather than problems.

Time off from being online is always a great way to reconnect with yourself :-)

Virginia, I definitely agree with you that writing can help clear my head, although I find that I need a balance between on and off-line writing. One of my problems with blogging is that I tend to read and write at the same time, rather than focusing on one or the other. When I go off-line, I tend to do a better job of stopping myself from taking in yet more information.

Fresh Start--good idea about the quote by the bed. I might adapt that by writing a relevant positive quote in my journal first thing. Gives me something new and positive each day to think about.

Hey, Michele,

For a good morning start, I start with music. Before getting to the computer, I put on some of my favorite Brazilian songs. It lifts my spirit. Of course, a good cup of coffee is essential for my Brazilian soul!

Here's my Brazilian playlist http://www.last.fm/listen/user/carlaarena/personal
Hope you like it!

Good for you, Michele, taking time offline. For me, getting the day off to a good start means doing something for myself first thing in the morning. Writing, a walk, taking the bus to explore a different part of the city. This morning I went for a bike ride.

It most emphatically means doing something that's NOT online.

This does require discipline. It may also mean getting up a little earlier than I'd like. But as I hear the siren song of other people's demands, the news, my email and blog, all calling to me, I've realized they usually can wait for an hour or so.

BTW, have you read the recent "Is Google Making us Stupid" article in the Atlantic? It makes me want to spend more time offline.

Michele, I find the term "allostasis" useful, even in a metaphoric sense. Homeostasis in physiology refers to keeping the organism within tolerable limits. Allostasis, a newer term, has more to do with maintaining viability with change.

And, despite the impression you get that change is always and everywhere good, so that swimming through it must also be good, sometimes we need to wind down, recharge, do things differently.

Hyperconnected folks are always urging others to do more online. Have a blog, send out tweets, mash up X with Y. These same people seem almost abashed about daydreams that do not involve a high-speed connection.

Remember that Hillel's first question was "if not for myself, who is for me?"

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