Friday, November 26, 2010

Feeling Overwhelmed? Try an Electronic Fast

Around my school, not to mention in my home, I am notorious for being constantly and unceasingly plugged in. My iPhone is never more than an arm's reach away and usually it is cemented securely in the palm of my hand. If I'm not sending or receiving email on one of my three email accounts synced to my phone or sending and receiving text messages, I'm compulsively playing Words with Friends or browsing the latest headlines on one of my fifteen or so favorite news apps. OK, I admit it. I have a problem. My connectivity is getting the best of me.

The first step toward fixing the problem is admitting I have a problem, right? Check that off the list, so now what?

Last weekend, my family accompanied my wife on a business trip out of town and I did the unthinkable. For four consecutive days (count them - 96 hours), I didn't read or send an email, I didn't browse news, I didn't play Words (gasp!), and I didn't text anyone! I admit that I used my phones GPS to help me navigate The City, but that's it! The result? Well, there's a two part answer.

Initially, I had a hard time dealing with being out of the loop at school. Thankfully I completely trust my leadership team to handle anything that might come up while I'm out. After half a day or so, I was able to let go. I turned my phone off and dropped it into my backpack. At the end of the four days, I felt like a new man. I had been able to focus on me and my family without the constant distraction of my connectedness. I knew I would have a ton of email waiting for me when I signed back in but I made a commitment to pace myself as I sorted and answered the email. Believe me when I say I felt the stress melt away.

The Greeks knew that "In all things, moderation," was the secret formula so why has it taken me so long to figure this out regarding my connectedness? While this electronic fast proved challenging for me to follow through with initially, I will do this again... and again.

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