Technology: Do You Ever Unplug?

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We talk a lot on this blog and on the web in general about all of the advancements we have made when it comes to staying “plugged in” to the world around us. We’ve also all have read the importance of businesses having an online presence – a website, social media accounts, a blog, etc. The list is endless.  Do you ever unplug?

Most of us are constantly connected, checking phones, tablets, laptops, computers, or iPods many times per day. I know I am guilty, if I so much as even stir overnight, I am checking my phone for texts, Facebook updates, or after-business-hours emails sent from editors or colleagues.

But are we all too connected? It’s certainly possible. There are many reports of how much time we spend connected to the Internet. While researching for this blog post, I came across statistics that say that the average person spends as much as 3 hours or more per day on social networks. 3 hours! That is a lot of time. That does not take into account any other Internet usage.

do you ever unplug?So many professions are now purely Internet-based, even those that would be traditionally more of a face-to-face driven industry. Take the real estate industry, for example. In the past, Realtor’s would search the MLS (multiple listing service) for properties for their clients, then take the clients to see the homes. Since real estate has shifted toward the online world, anyone who is interested in a home can jump online and browse hundreds of properties.

So when do we have the chance to unplug, so to speak? Not often. I can’t remember the last time that I turned my iPhone off, other than when it died from lack of charge after using it to browse the web for hours. A recent article published on Mashable highlights a camp of sorts, where adults and business people go to unwind and unplug. The camp highlights include physical activity, socializing, and arts and crafts; but most of all, it’s technology-free.

Many of the camps participants are CEOs and venture capitalists – people that normally have the most problem unplugging. One of the simplest ways to be a better entrepreneur is to take a day off or dedicate times to unplug. Doing this helps you not have to make a drastic change of being completely plugged for 4 days.

So what are the benefits to unplugging? I would say that the number one reason is just to clear your head. In our technology driven world, we all have so many thoughts swimming around in our heads on a daily basis.

I’m sure many of you tech-heads can relate, but I know that I’m attached at the hip to my iPhone. Unplugging might be able to help us focus better, even on things that do require technology, in the long run.

So I would love to pose the question, what do you do to unplug and unwind? Do you dedicate 1 day a week, or even 1 hour a week to not be constantly connected? Please share!

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

7 comments
Yourinda
Yourinda

Hi Megan,

unplugging, I believe, is important for our health!

I unplug everyday for a while, at least an hour. Since I live near a lovely township near the beach I usually go there to (window)shop and walk along the beach.

When my kids grew up we had TV free time, now kids need technology free time.

Thank you for sharing this!

Cheers,

Yorinda

Deone_Higgs
Deone_Higgs

I feel it is imperative for me to unplug weekly, Steve. It permits me to refresh myself, and be more present to life, living, and my loved ones. I also share the sentiments of @cuthill... my downtime is a great time to catch up on capturing new images. While I rarely ever turn off my cellphone, I do allow the voice-mail to catch any calls during those down periods. I also use that time to work on my book, as well. 

chattyprof
chattyprof

I am very guilty of not unplugging, but mostly on e-mail, rather than social networks. I don't post on Facebook barely at all, but I tweet all the time. What is most ironic is that I teach Communication Studies--specifically, trying to get college students to recognize how much all their "screen time" affects their overall interaction skills and employability! 

When I don't have my phone or laptop, I notice that I breathe a sigh of relief. At times, I let the battery die purposely or I leave it behind so I can feel "untethered." I also often refuse to participate in texting--I tell the person I will call them instead, and I do. I need to make a more deliberate effort. Even some of these actions aren't quite enough. Thank you for this insightful piece. Ellen Bremen @chattyprof 

cuthill
cuthill

I spend most weekends birding and taking photographs in natural areas. My cell phone is turned off, and it's just me and the wildlife and my camera and my binoculars. I get the downtime I need to unwind and de-stress, and I'm doing something I love while getting fresh air and exercise. Life is good!

mtotka
mtotka

@Deone_Higgs I love that you have incorporated downtime into your weekly routine. I'm going to give that a try!

mtotka
mtotka

@chattyprof We all have different ways of staying connected. I am most guilty of Facebook over-use! It's funny that you let your electronics power down in order to take time out!

mtotka
mtotka

@cuthill What a fun hobby! That definitely does sound relaxing.