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laptopdog.pngBy B.L. Ochman
Recently, at a Tweetup, several of my online buds admitted that they sleep with their laptops. They said they check their email when they get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Sorry guys, but that’s just nuts.
I’ve rebelled. This summer, for the first time in a long, long time, I unplugged for a couple of weeks. Two weeks – count ’em – unplugged. No computer. No email. No compulsive tracking of Twitter. No updating any of the three blogs I write. No FriendFeed, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Flickr, or iPod Touch. No Seesmic. No Skype. No TV. DIdn’t even read a newspaper most days.
A curious thing happened.
The world kept turning round and round. Clear thought returned to my work-addled brain, and after a few days, a flood of new ideas returned.
In those weeks, my AdAge Power 150 ranking dropped from 24 to 66. Big whoop. It’s since edged its way back up the list. Other than that, there was no visible impact on my business.
It’s not easy ekeing out time to think. Despite the economy, I’ve never been busier than I am this year. And the busier I get, the easier it is to get caught up in the day-to-day and not take time to think. I have begun to righteously guard my creative time. I don’t start my work day until 11 because I do something really radical in the morning: I think.
But once I get started, like so many other people who work online, it’s a non-stop race that often doesn’t wind down til the wee hours of the morning.
All around me, I see people going from task to task, meeting to meeting (HOW does anyone get anything done if they have to go from one meeting to another day after day?) One-offs take the place of strategic plans, and everything has to get done right now.
All this craziness has a price.
What suffers?
o Creativity. It requires some quiet time alone. Years ago, I interviewed one of my all-time heroes, Howard Rheingold, the brilliant author, educator, and futurist.
I asked him how he got so much writing done. And he told me you have to zealously guard your creative time every day, refusing to let anything else interfere. It was some of the best advice I ever got.
o Health. There’s no time for exercise unless you get up before dawn. Eight hours of sleep is a distant memory. Stress kills. That’s been proven a thousand times over.
o Diet. Who’s got time to eat healthy between meetings?
o Family and friends. There’s no time for quality time. I can’t tell you how many of my friends and acquaintances with young children see them for only an hour a day, even though their kids won’t be kids forever.
Here’s my pledge: I’m going to keep taking time for thinking, dancing, friends, and family. No matter what.
Bonus Link: Dave Fleet – The Importance of Downtime
Image via Stuff Unemployed People Like