Ay-oh, I'm tired of usin' technology

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

This past weekend, my lifeline was cut off. My link to the outside world was severed. I had to learn to function without the guiding light of the mothership hovering next to me, comforting me every waking moment with her steady red blips.

My BlackBerry battery died on Saturday morning en route to New Brunswick. My charger was back in the office. This meant three days sans BlackBerry. No Facebook! No Twitter! No email! No checking the weather updates every 5 minutes to see if the forecast had changed!

I survived. In fact, I flourished. It was SO NICE, once I got past the initial withdrawal, to be incommunicado. With one less thing taxing my poor, overworked noggin, I was able to concentrate more on whatever I was doing. I had one less distraction all weekend long and it was lovely.

Nobody died. Projects stayed on track. No tears were shed. Shit did not hit the fan. The world kept turning. I know!! I was shocked, too!!

Since I got my BlackBerry about a year or so ago, it's pretty much been an extension of my body 24/7. I'm constantly checking it. I can't ignore the little red light. When I wake up, it's the first thing I look at. It's the last thing I look at before I go to sleep in case there's a text or an email that just.cannot.wait.

Can that be healthy? Is it necessary? No, and no. If there's something that's THAT CRUCIAL that it needs to be addressed rightthissecond, whoever it is can pick up the phone and call me.

But really, how often is something an honest to God emergency? We create little emergencies for ourselves all the time. "We need to upload this file RIGHT NOW!" "I NEED you to proofread this document immediately." An emergency is you're bleeding from a sucking chest wound and vultures are circling. An emergency is not "check this report for spelling mistakes so it can then sit on my desk for an hour before the second proofreader gets a chance to review it."

I did get a few client requests via email on Saturday and Sunday, but there was nothing that couldn't wait until Tuesday to be addressed.

And no one was mad when it took me longer than a few hours to respond to their messages.

It was a bit of an eyeopener...a reminder that while the BlackBerry is certainly an important tool for my work, and that client need to be replied to in a timely matter, the sun continues to rise and set and nobody's going to lose their mind if their 9pm email doesn't get a response until, say, 9am the next morning. It's OK to not always be on call. I am not a doctor.

Seems simple, but I forget this all the time.

I think I'm going to try to start unplugging in the evenings. Maybe I'll shut off my Blackberry and stay offline from, say, 7-10pm every night. I'll check for messages before bed, but other than that, I'll try to unplug, relax, and enjoy my time away from work rather than getting pissed off when bedtime rolls around and I've spent the whole evening with my ass on the couch and my computer on my lap.

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  1. I had a very similar experience recently ...


    I still haven't completely kicked the evening computer habit, but it's a work in progress!

  2. I've been thinking about "blackout" periods for a while-- a couple hours a night where I just go plug my computer and phone in away from wherever I am and try to live the unconnected life for a while... it's refreshing!

  3. OMGzzz. You went without your BB for a weekend? I would have a tough time without my lifeline for very long. I have any extra phone in case my iPhone goes down. You are right however if I sit and think about how often I get somethig that "really" needs my attention ASAP... Maybe once a month. Hmmmm. Maybe I should spend less time on this device

  4. So true! I don't even have the crackberry and I want one. It's bad enough as it is. My life will be consumed when I do get one. I wonder what it would be like to have no internet connection/ cellphone for a week?

    Never mind I feel the panic attack setting in.

  5. Isn't it crazy?! When you realize how much time you spend on your phone?? My hubby and I have a rule, no phones in the evenings. When we are watching movies or eating dinner.. our rooms are in the other room. It really is refreshing. :)

  6. @lindsey this week i'm going to try to unplug between 7-10pm every evening. we'll see how it goes. i picked this week because for me, it's a 3-day work week. hehe :)

    @sarah i'm doing it this week! three hours offline a day. today was my first day and it was amazing how much i got done! i'll write an update post about it.

    @scott try it. you'll like it. at first, it feels like your baby is taken away, but after a while it's a beautiful thing.

    @court resist the urge!! don't get one!! :o

    @ashlee that is a good rule! H2B was so happy tonight that we had more hangout time!

  7. I'd say build yourself up until you can move your blackout period to start an hour or two before bed and last until morning. You'll be doing yourself a huge favour by making your last thought before sleeping anything but work.

    Of course, this is a 'do as I say, not as I do' moment.

  8. Ben...not thinking about work before falling asleep sounds loooovely. I'm pretty sure work worrying is the cause of me waking up 15 minutes before my alarm every single morning no matter how sleepy I am.