How often do you allow yourself to go unwired is the question of the day at Jeff Pulver's blog. Interesting question indeed.
I just spent the weekend unwired, and it was great. It's something I rarely ever do, if only because the email pile-up is too awful to contemplate on a regular basis. And most people I know are rarely, if ever, totally out of the online loop. While I was off-line, friends actually called when "want to see a movie?" or "what are you doing tomorrow?" emails went unanswered. By Sunday I felt really relaxed, and my always sore hands were happier.
That gnawing disease...
Even while determinedly avoiding the computer, I had the gnawing feeling - an addict's craving, truth be told - that I was missing something important by not checking the comments on my blog, and the goings on of my Twitter buds and my favorite blogs. I held my ground, until last night, and I plan to stay unwired more often this summer.
Frankly, while I think the work I do is important for my clients, the world won't end and IT systems won't fall if I don't respond to an email for a couple of hours, so I don't have a Blackberry and don't want one. But an awful lot of other people apparently see their work as holding the globe together.
One caveat about disconnecting: it's a joke among bloggers that if you want to start a problem for a corporation you write the post on the weekend because nobody corporate will see it until Monday. Several big companies have been caught in blog storms that started on a weekend and that could have been diffused is someone was watching the store. So somebody has to be handling reputation management on weekends, but people can take turns doing that. If there's a problem, a simple phone call can summon the troops.
Constant connection is often an addiction
Nonetheless, it's common to see people answering email via Blackberry in meetings, at meals, and during events: something that strikes me as incredibly rude, but which seems almost universally accepted. For the most part, rather an a necessity, staying constantly connected is a habit that becomes an obsession, and then an addiction.
One 30-something friend told me "I have to be online 24/7 because my clients are." I responded: start by saying, "I'm not available until after noon on Sunday," and go from there, until you've re-claimed your weekends. She finally decided that was possible, and reports that she is not only less stressed, but ultimately also more productive because she now has some time to think.
How about you: how often are you unwired?
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