This recent New Yorker cover by Mark Ulriksen called “Capturing the Memories” is, curiously, the perfect illustration the New York Times article Call Waiting: It’s Me, Your Vacation: Eight Rules for Getting the Most Out of Your Time Off that appeared a week before. Matt Richtel outlines ”Vacation Mental Prep” for people who have a hard time letting go of the devices – phones, ipads, computers – that keep them constantly connected and unable to being PRESENT during their vacation. It’s a subject that seems to be on eveyone’s mind these days.
The gist of the Times piece is this: withdrawing from constant device use – or the need to be doing something – is a practice, something that you have to cultivate rather than go at cold turkey. You’ve got to help your brain make the transition from always ‘on’ to ‘off’, and it’s a good idea to be doing that daily. (The whole article goes into much more detail, including the neuroscience behind it; you’ll find it here or here.
Leo Barbauta over at Zen Habits recommends blocking off some disconnected time.
“… schedule some time every day for disconnection: maybe a block in the morning where you get your best work done, and a block in the afternoon when you get out and active, or connect with friends or family.”
Another of Barbuta’s approaches is to take a break every 30 minutes from “being connected”, when you totally switch gears into something REAL.
As glorious as our gadgets are, they can also hold us captive. Louis C.K.’s commentary on tweeting says it all (Video link here):
How do you chill?
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