Opinion

Starting the new year unplugged

Each year, I try to give myself the gift of time away from work until the first full week of January. That meant that this past Monday was my first day back in the office after almost 2 weeks away! It was wonderful. Having an additional few days away in January feels like a soft launch to the new year rather than blasting off like a rocket.

It does mean Monday was very much a re-entry into routine, not just for me, but for my family. My focus now is to keeping things moving while holding on to space and slowness from vacation. One of the ways I’m doing this is adopting Tiffany Shlain’s “tech shabbat”: being connected 24/6 instead of 24/7. Unplugging just one day a week. I’ve made her book 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week my first non-fiction read of 2020. I’m a little nervous about making this committment. I’m unsure of how I’ll fit it in, but turning off devices Friday night to Saturday night is a reasonable goal.

I also came across Cal Newport’s Analog January Challenge. Cal is the author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work. What I like about Cal’s challenge is that he challenges us not only to think about what we want to stop doing with our digital devices, it’s also about what behaviors to start.  He recommends having conversations with 20 different people over the course of the month. Conversations where you can hear their voice, not text or email discussions. My first thought was that 20 conversations would take some planning, and that it’s an interesting goal to try to work towards.

If disconnecting to reconnect is on your 2020 to-do list, let me know how you’re approaching it. What are your digital device habits?

Journal Prompts
1. What is the purpose of having your digital devices?
2. How do you feel when you think about giving up your devices for a full day? A week?

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