I first read about “unplugging” a couple of years ago, and then was inspired by Baratunde Thurston‘s account of taking a structured break from digital communications about a year ago. At the end of 25 days of zero online time he says “The greatest gift I gave myself was a restored appreciation for disengagement, silence, and emptiness.” His digital detox of 25 days led to new insights on how to be balanced in a hyper-connected world, and he says he developed some new habits.
Unplugging is an idea that has grown, and even has its own day, although there are naysayers. I agree that one day off doesn’t make much difference, but I suspect most of us could examine and re-balance our digital habits. Fast company produced a guide to unplugging, including ideas for daily or weekly habits.
I am online constantly; my work, social-life and hobbies – including blogging – keep me online for many hours every day. So the idea of a break from digital appeals, during my sabbatical it really didn’t seem necessary, but now that I’m back at work in a tide of email that’s changed.
I have decided that the Christmas/New Year period is a good time to take a digital break. As I’m still working some days it’s not a complete break. But I’ll be unplugging where I can. That means no blogging, no twitter, no Slideshare, no G+, no LinkedIn.
Apart from catching up with friends and family, I will be taking time to read, to write, and to think. See you next year!