Being Disconnected in a Connected Age (for personal and professional growth)

We are the generation who “gets it”

It is easy to think that because we are “connected” to the rest of the world through movies, books, TV or most noticeably the internet we “get it.”

But, we don’t.

In order to connect in ways which are long lasting and meaningful it is vitally important to disconnect.

I must have my computer

My laptop is an important component of my life. I am enthralled with the ease of going to my screen in order to find a piece of missing information.

I love researching subjects of interest.

I’m delighted to learn new things, to see new ideas, to learn about subjects I hadn’t even thought of before. I have a blast sitting in front of my laptop.

After all, my business depends on me spending a certain amount of time interacting with my computer.

Guilty as charged

I’m as guilty as the next guy of flitting about learning all sorts of stuff, finding interesting tid-bits, reading good advice, laughing at ‘the good ones,” then jumping over to see what is happening on pinterest or Facebook, again bouncing to see how my stats are stacking up — all without moving towards any of my self asserted goals.

Get off the digital roller coaster before you get sick

I’m all for tooling around on the rides at the amusement park. I want to be thrilled. I love experiencing the excitement. And, I know enough to get off before my breakfast makes its way back up the digestive canal.

So how is it done?

Remaining on the digital roller coaster too long leads to virtual nausea which amounts to problems with time management and productivity. Many experts concerning productivity are touting the advisability of taking breaks, of changing speed, and of planned pacing. So how do you do it?

What tool can you use to best advantage when what you need to do is get off the digital roller coaster?

You have to take a break

Taking a break may be enough. But, taking a break with your journal is the ultimate way to productively disconnect. Using your journal to make the most of your break, to connect to the real world (which includes but is not limited to the internet) is as easy as 1,2,3.

1. Keep your journal handy. Having your hardcopy journal near when you need to get away from your keyboard makes your transition easy. Open your purse, your drawer or your briefcase and pull out your journal as you step away from your computer.

2. Use a timer. Yes, once you begin writing in your journal you will want to keep going even when you should be doing other work. Set a time limit, turn on the timer and write until you hear the ding. You may need to experiment to see which time works best for you. Start small with 5 minutes or so. You can always come back for more minutes later or make your break longer tomorrow.

3. Be present with your journal. Think about the moment, not your next task. What you write about is less important than the physical activity of drawing ink from pen to paper. The calming factor involved in moving thought from brain to handwritten page gives you power to return to your day with quiet resolve and calm reserve.

Use step 4 once in a while

About once a week or at least once a month you can add a fourth step.

4. Read what you wrote. Take time before writing to review ground you’ve covered in your past journal breaks. Look for patterns, for change, for growth, for achievements. Watch for ideas or thoughts which might hold you back. Determine how you can use the information you’ve gathered, the thoughts you’ve recorded and the ideas you’ve accumulated.

Deciding to disconnect on a regular basis from your digital life through your hardcopy journal gives you impetus to make both your digital aspirations and your physical dreams, hopes and desires move to the forefront of your thought processes.

The simple step of changing from keyboard to pen, from lighted screen to tactile paper sends an attention alert to your brain. By leisurely and regularly writing in your journal during both planned and unplanned breaks you take tiny steps which turn into giant strides for both personal and professional growth.

Try it now

Start with a 5 or 10 minute break. Walk away from your computer. Set a phone alarm or ask someone to tell you when your allotted time has passed. Write. Write about anything. Then come back and get to work. Try it. You’ll see.

 

As a lover of words, pens, paper and the dictionary I'm a natural for journal writing. But, I wasn't always faithful to the task and had to learn the hard way. Some trial and error as well as input from my journal writing friends helped move me along. I have a burning desire to help people who want to use and get the most out of their journals and diaries. I see journal writing as a self improvement tool and a way to avoid costly mistakes, bad relationships and my stinky-self. Finding my kindly self is part of the journey which keeps me writing. I Journalate and so can you.

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