We are all extremely plugged in people. Pretty much all of us carry a cell phone and many have smart phones, which means the internet is at our fingertips 24/7/365. Many of us feel out our element without a computer, smartphone and tv.
Thinkers as far back as the Romans mused that humans need periods of solitude to recharge and get away from the distractions of society. Romans were talking about the importance of disconnecting in a time when the biggest annoyance was someone coming over and knocking on your door. People communicated via letters and the spoken word.
Our brains haven’t evolved fast enough to be connected as much as we are now. It’s extremely important to take breaks from our fast paced, tech driven society when you are simply with your friends, alone, unreachable or with your own thoughts. You may say you can’t take a break from your life for a variety of reasons, but in reality, all of your rationalizations are excuses. If you want, you can take a few days off from our tech society to be alone with your thoughts.
I just got back from seven days in San Pedro de Atacama and the Bolivian altiplano. For the first three days, I checked email twice per day and only responded to messages that absolutely had to be answered. When I went to Bolivia, I didn’t bring anything except my cell phone, which I kept turned off the entire trip. Jesse was also on vacation, so our business was pretty much unreachable for about three days.
When I got back, I had 691 unread emails, 291 of which Google thought were important. In reality, only 2 were extremely important. I missed an interview request from a big tech blog and one deal slowed down a little. When I got back, I immediately called the reporter and got the interview taken care of and pushed through the deal that had slowed down. In reality, nothing bad happened.
Now that I’m back, I’m fully recharged and ready to attack my work and my life at full speed. I had time to reevaluate my life, my business and my space in the world. It was great to not have to think about business, city life, politics, buses, metros, emails, phones or meetups. My body feels better, my mind is clear and I’m recharged.
When’s the last time you disconnected? If it was a long time ago, take the leap on your next vacation and leave your internet behind. Disconnect and see how much better you feel.