Pulling the Plug (Metaphorically Speaking)

First of all — thanks to everyone who posted a thought on the first Operation Affirmation! Day Two is now posted and I’d LOVE to see what you’re celebrating about yourself. You can get all the details on a new page here.

And while I’m doing housekeeping — be a doll (or a dear) and check out the video my loving, beer-blogging, unemployed husband posted to Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp contest (click the photo below)! Shares, views and “likes” don’t officially count, but it can’t hurt, and I know he’d appreciate the love. He storyboarded and shot the elements himself, and only recruited me for editing and a brief cameo.

OK, back to the post title…“Pulling the Plug.”

Here’s what a day in my normal life looks like:

  • 6am: Wake up and run (sometimes), use Garmin
  • 7am: Shower, watch the news, check e-mail from iPhone (multiple accounts), check Twitter and Facebook
  • 7:30am: Eat, coffee, check e-mail again
  • 8am: Leave for work, listen to NPR in car
  • 8:30am: Arrive at work, turn on NPR, check e-mail, update company website(s), update social networking sites, etc.
  • 12:00pm: Take lunchtime walk while listening to podcast on iPhone
  • 12:30pm: Back to work, eat while checking blog comments
  • 5:00pm: Leave work, head to gym
  • 5:30-7:00pm: Work out
  • 7:30pm: Arrive home, make dinner
  • 8:00pm: Check e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, watch TV/DVR
  • 10:30pm: Go to bed (usually: pass out on the couch)

Asleep On Couch

There are some variations, but I’m a pretty routined girl. In addition, I host one or two live Twitter chats each week, which means coordinating, sitting at a computer for two hours and more.

Enter our Seattle vacation — featuring intermittent Internet access, no cable TV, lots of walking/bike riding to destinations, etc. My routine was more like:

  • Wake up and run
  • Shower, read, coffee on the deck
  • Walk/ride/drive to fun destination (usually outside)
  • Lunch/snacks whenever
  • Back to house for dinner on deck and more reading
  • Drink wine
  • Sleep

Monday 34

It was PACKED with activity, but very little technology…No Twitter, no Facebook; in fact, I had to force myself to check work e-mail once a day, just in case of emergency. And you know what? It was fantastic. I was reminded of how great it is to celebrate silence — and really take time to look around and appreciate everything that we have. I did spontaneous yoga (!!!!), finished a book in 3 days, listened to the breeze…

…I think I became a hippie!

Now that I’m back to the real world, I’m trying to get into a hybrid routine. The iPhone’s back on, as is the Garmin. But the TV has been turned off in favor of a book and I’m thinking of taking my lunchtime walks headphone-free. I just want to make a point of BEING. Simply BEING…and not being plugged in quite so much.

First steps? I returned to this on my Google Reader:

Full Greader 1

and immediately hit “mark all as read.” It felt great.

Next, I whittled my Google Reader subscriptions down from 557 to 336 just based on titles, then dropped another 100 by using the “Trends” tool to get rid of people that haven’t updated recently. And today, when I checked blogs, I unsubscribed from those that I wasn’t interested in. Now, I’m only subscribing to blogs that I WANT to read. I can’t tell you how much weight was lifted by those moves alone!

It’s an evolving process, and I’ll never completely go technology-free. But I’m trying to be more present.

I need help! What do YOU do to keep your plugged-in moments to a minimum?

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Comments

  1. says

    Awesome post!

    I recently left my “real” job to be a full time blogger and health coach and so much has changed for me in the way of technology, especially since my job is now online, on skype and on the telephone. But ironically, I am unplugged more often. I set aside time to do all of my “plugged in” stuff and then feel free to just be the rest of my time. I ride in silence in my car, which I was doing before I left my job, and really find myself craving that silent time. I’ve also been reading more…books.

    Good for you on the google reader, I widdled mine WAY down and also stopped forcing myself to comment on posts that I really had nothing to say on.

    Technology is great, I love it and wouldn’t want to live without it but it also has a place.

  2. says

    I’ve been doing the opposite with my google reader. I took a blogging break, so now I’m back and trying to find more blogs that I really enjoy. I’ve added about ten subscriptions in the past week. I only have 50, though. Can’t believe you had 557!

  3. says

    Great post! I admit, I really need to go ‘unplugged’ more often! My google reader reached a ridiculously high number last week and pressing the ‘marked as read’ button felt SO good (even though I felt a little guilty for neglecting my bloggy friends! I care, I really do!) Keeping plugged-in moments to a minimum is something I really need to work on, but I like to think I’ll have fewer of them when I finish my undergrad in a couple of weeks. :)

  4. says

    I need to clean out my Google reader! However, I must say I only ever feel *obligated* to check out my faves! (Which I usually go straight to their sites for anyway…so I’m not sure why I use reader, but anyway…) I’m TERRIBLE at unplugging, but some things I try to do are: run errands without my iPhone if I know I won’t be out long (every bit helps), run without my Garmin on short, non-speedwork runs on familiar routes and running without my iPod. I also try really hard to stay off Twitter/other social media when I get home from work–since that’s what I do all day.

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