What I Learned the Week I Unplugged


About two weeks ago, I took a different direction in my professional life and resigned from the job I’d dedicated my entire adult career (10+ years) to. It was an extremely tough decision, but one I felt I needed to make in order to stay vigilant in pursuing my dreams and goals.

Although this is another subject for another time (or post), what resulted from this action was really eye opening and life altering.  I turned in my computer and phone and suddenly lost touch with the world, or did I?

I was trapped and didn’t know it.

My day revolved around these two devices.  Phone calls, tweets, texts, Facebook messages, emails, emails, and more worthless emails filled my day from the early morning hours until hitting the pillow at night.  I didn’t realize how disastrous this was until I literally couldn’t do it anymore.  I needed to dry out from technology.

It was exactly the therapy I needed.  I was addicted.

Maybe I’m still addicted, but I can see it more clearly now.  Ironically enough, I was reading a book a week or two ago discussing the topic of boredom.  The author described in great detail how people today (mainly younger adults and children) have no concept of boredom because they just plug into another device just when the B-word sets in.  This rampant activity causes our brains to operate on overdrive 95% of the time and provides little to no rest.  We need rest.

It doesn’t shock me one bit to see the #1 growing diagnosis among strung out teens and young adults is anxiety.  We can’t let go of technology until we’re forced to for FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Well I missed out.  I missed out on 10 days of…

NOTHING.  I didn’t miss a damn thing, and I’m a better person for it.  If people needed to get a hold of me, they texted my wife.  How cool is that?  They actually couldn’t get a hold of me.  Sad news is, I’m back now with a phone and a computer, but I’ve got to tell you what I’ve learned in the process.

  1. I’m not that important.  Yes, I technically don’t have a job at this very moment, so I don’t have those responsibilities, but life went on for everyone else.
  2. Silence is beautiful.  I was trying to remember the last time I just sat and thought.  It’s been too long.  Can you tell me the last time you spent 30 minutes in silence just thinking?
  3. I was neglecting myself.  I was able to catch up on reading I wanted to tackle, blog posts I wanted to write, and knocking down jump shots in the gym (basketball was always my sanctuary growing up).
  4. Anxiety was running my life.  Not from a clinical standpoint, but I was always on alert for the next thing: text, email, phone call, etc. that needed to be responded to.  Ready, ready, ready, and…exhausted.
  5. I’m in control.  The last couple weeks I’ve had entire days to myself.  I made the decisions on what to read, when to exercise, and yes, when I wanted to take a nap (although my wife says I should’ve done more of this). It’s always been my schedule.  I just let others dictate it.
  6. Scheduled downtime.  Now that I’m a recovering information junkie, I’m learning to schedule my downtime.  I’m working on not jumping right into technology in the morning and taking breaks throughout the day to recharge (albeit briefly), so I can be the best version of myself.

ACTION ITEM: I was so excited to share this with the tribe.  I really hope you can take a few days, maybe even a week away from everything.  Some say, that’s why God made Mexico, but I’d like to see you do it while at home and take the challenge head on.  I bet you will find a little more of yourself in the process.

Lastly, it would provide me a great deal of pleasure if you would comment on your experiences below.  This is only my opinion, and I’m sure there are tremendous amounts of knowledge to be shared from the community of readers out there.

Thank you,