Creativity Monday: My Internet Sabbatical
06 Monday Jan 2014
Over Christmas I took a little internet sabbatical. I didn’t really intend to, but fun and life kind of took over from work and the web.
Keith, Anna and I were in the States, staying with my parents. Although I fully intended to stay up-to-date with the world while we were there, it just didn’t happen. Between family activities, Christmas, and my dad’s slooooowwww internet connection, my online presence was minimal.
And I discovered it was actually (gasp!) okay.
At first, I did find myself reaching—out of habit—for my computer or phone, but gradually that instinct faded. “Checking in” wasn’t as easy to do as it is at home. And it wasn’t really polite around my mom and dad (who aren’t as dialed in as the rest of the world—AOL, anyone?).
And I found I was much more interested in what was happening around the kitchen table than on Facebook.
(I mean, you just can’t beat participating in a family play-doh session—the youngest being 2 years old and the oldest 80!)
Eventually I felt as though the effort to schedule time with the computer was greater than the reward. Constant “checking in” just took too much work—excusing myself, finding a quiet nook, waiting for the slow connection to connect…
Instead, I let the days simply happen at their slower pace. I listened to my parents read books with Anna and revisited some old favorites (The Whispering Rabbit for one). We re-enacted daring adventures with Anna’s stuffed mice. We ate fresh tangerines and wrapped presents and worked on Christmas crafts. (My dad and Anna share a preference for stickers, it seems.) We slept in.
I had done some pre-planning, of course: Before we left Poland, I had scheduled Studio SN updates on You Tube. But beyond that, I didn’t do much online. I didn’t check Facebook, I didn’t tweet and I didn’t even post Instagram photos. In fact, I didn’t even have my phone out—it needed charging and eventually I plugged it in but then forgot about it.
Truthfully? It was nice to be out of the loop for awhile. Not putting stuff out there, and not taking it in. Just a little break from the world.
And when I did eventually check my email, I found that—surprise!—there really wasn’t much there but a lot of “out of office” memos, Christmas ads and updates that I could skim or delete.
It seemed everyone else was taking a bit of an internet vacation, too.
It was a great lesson for me and quite frankly, one that came as a little surprise. Because most of my business is conducted online, I can’t shut off the computer entirely. And yet, I can limit the time and energy I put into “checking” from time to time. This kind of sabbatical works especially well during the holiday season, simply because business is slower. But I imagine there will be spots of time in the summer or on weekends that would be prime for a break, too.
I love connecting on Facebook, Instagram, by email and on this blog. And I appreciate just how easy it is to do that. Yet at the same time, this Christmas trip was a great reminder that sometimes, it’s nice to step away from the keyboard and trade in the online connections for a really rousing play-doh session.