Digital Disengagement

I'm confessing upfront that I don't know where this experiment will lead, but I do know that I must do it.

I have been spending too much time engaged with the Internet lately. Between my work (Digital Marketing Agency) and my personal 'play' in the realms of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Four Square, I have been constantly engaged with the digital world. I enjoy all of the connections that this interactive world allows. I have people who I know and value only via the web and others who share with me in the flesh-and-blood world and enhance that sharing via the virtual world. I enjoy the pace of interactions, the laughter, the positive massages and the extension of myself that Digital allows me.

My work involves some measure of interaction on the web, as well. Yet, when I really analyze my work-related time (and I have this week), very little other than email and research is critical to my goals vocationally.

I do enjoy the digital world and its constantly changing and ever teaching environment keeps me stimulated and growing, but I am paying a price.

Here's the rub. I've noticed some changes in my life - more my experience and enjoyment of life - that just won't do. I will not go into the details here, but will generalize my concern thus: I am not a natural child of the digital world and to continue to process and engage at such an intense and constant level is tiring and is changing the way I think, process and most importantly the way I care for myself.

So, here's my confession. I will be backing away from the Internet. If you are a regular reader here, you will likely not notice a difference in my blogging frequency. Blogging, as I practice it, is less about frantic, quick thought and more about thinking, writing, and creating. I'll not stop blogging. I am backing off of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in terms of frequency of interactions. The same is true with my non-work related email interactions.

I will be blocking time (some of the 86,400 seconds of every day) for non-digital engagement, and limiting my online time with a timer. My commitment is to the next 21 days. Already, this weekend as refreshed my spirit as I have only spent 3 hours online and left my iPhone sitting by itself for hours at a time. I have spent the newly reclaimed time: hiking, reading, listening (just sitting and listening) to music and song lyrics, playing with my dogs, and talking face-to-face with family and friends. I like it.

Wish me success.

Photo taken October 2008, Appalachian Trail Hike