The Importance of Unplugging During a Time of Increased Connectivity

Rocker Jerry Cantrell’s 2002 song “Solitude” has a line highly relevant to today’s climate:

“Take the time to pull the weeds, choking feathers in your life.”

In these “corona days” we find ourselves highly reliant on social media, Zoom, FaceTime, and countless other apps. Chances are that if you are engaged politically, you are reading various outlets. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you likely get some notification——every time something happens. There is probably an email sent to you as well. If we add up all of these mediums, notifications, and emails, it’s clear why people feel overwhelmed and stressed out. If you sprinkle in Amazon and the countless other consumer emails, it’s no wonder people want to rush back to normalcy.

What would happen if you eliminate those distractions? For me, I’m writing these words——on a glue top legal pad with a Parker jotter. 

Everyday, we drown ourselves in distractions to reject certain feelings, whether it be to fight boredom or for entertainment. Like all things, excess is hazardous to our health——especially mental health. 

Like millions of people, I have a smartphone that far outpaces my typewriters, laptop, and this pen. Daily, hourly, or even moment to moment, I would find myself submerged in endless feeds, email streams, news notifications, and on and on. In moderation, these allowed me to stay connected; however, in excess served as convenient distractions. It’s almost as if the more you consume, the more you crave.

However, as I have written before, when you get distracted, it interferes with production. Personally speaking, I have decided to limit the distractions by removing notifications and apps from my phone. Less notifications mean I can focus on what I want to do——WRITE. 

While I say this, I will acknowledge my hypocrisy as this winds up in a digital format. After all, how else would you read this? I suppose I could send a typewritten letter. 

Here’s the challenge to you: Unplug from unnecessary distractions for one day and see what you do differently. All that stuff will be there tomorrow and the day after, ready for you to pick it back up. My only hope would be that the engagement is in a healthy and productive way. 

In other words, take the time to pull those weeds, after all it is spring now. 

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