The week before last I had a weeks holiday, a week off work and a few days away at a hotel. It was also designated as my annual technology break which is a week once a year when I don't send or receive any emails and don't engage with any social media and generally try to switch off.
This is no easy feat for someone like me who sleeps with their ipad next to the pillow and phone on the bedside table. So I delete all email accounts from my phone/ipad plus any apps that I may be tempted to use ie facebook, twitter, linkedin, pinterest, blipfoto, angry birds etc etc. In fact I switch my ipad off and disable everything on my phone except text for family to contact me in emergencies. I do take a camera for holiday photos.
It sounds a bit extreme to have to delete everything but I discovered about 3 years ago that I just use all these programmes/ applications / facilities automatically, without thinking. I just take my phone out of my pocket or bag and browse.
So how did it go? Well for the first two days I am really on edge and twitchy - it's weird. I find myself in situations where I subconciously pick up my phone to do something and then discover there is nothing to do....one or two text messages does not really constitute an engaging experience especially when the conversation is "hope you're ok?" "yes, fine, hope you're ok too". Standing in queues or waiting around for something or someone are typical situations when I pass the time of day by checking up on emails or social media. Checking to see if anyone is doing anything exciting. Posting photos, checking in, commenting on posts, blogging about the day etc.
After the first couple of days things settle down and I start to feel the benefit of switching off. It's definitely a feeling of less responsibility and being detached.
I read a lot - this time I read 5 books during the week
We spend time walking and exploring places so it makes the most of being away from home and work. More time to talk and listen and meander aimlessly around.
It's stepping out of every day life and I think that's the point - being connected is part of everyday life, it's essential and I enjoy it - I wouldn't want to be without it. But it is important to occasionally disconnect and realise that is what you are doing and give yourself a break and time to reflect.