Yesterday, I took a break from blogging, my first since summer vacation started. After reading “iCrazy” in Newsweek while lying on Tunnels Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, I realized I have become too dependent on the public approval fed through Facebook and WordPress, the notifications popping up in little dopamine doses on my smart phone.
While I rationalize that blogging is at least part of my mission in establishing myself as a writer, the reality is that it has also become part of my greater addiction to the internet. The number of likes and new follows either negatively or positively affects my mood after posting, (not to mention the compulsive checking of my inbox for feedback). My solution, forced breaks, turned off email notifications, and only checking my blog when I post new material.
In just 48 hours of silence, I’ve already noticed that not receiving email notifications to my phone has made a huge difference. Not knowing what activity I am receiving is better than the high or low of immediate reinforcement. I no longer have the urge to pick up my phone every two minutes. In fact, I left my phone off all day today and yesterday, save for checking for voicemails and text messages once in the morning and once in the evening.
Taking a day off blogging was also nicer than I thought, as I resisted the urge to complete my daily ritual. That’s the thing, even on vacation, I derive satisfaction from the exercise of blogging, I am just trying to move away from it being an obsession. So far, giving myself a little space is making it feel a lot less compulsive. Best of all, a break made me hyper-aware of how often I think about being online or checking my inbox. It was more often than I like to admit. However, the more time I let pass, the less often I had the urge.
The important life reminder– I value time spent disconnected. A big motivation in becoming a teacher was creating a life where I was not connected to a computer for work all day. I have to remind myself this as I dive head first into the world of writing, an evolving world shrouded in technology. If any of this resonates with you, I recommend reading the article linked above, although I’m not suggesting that it is a problem for everyone.
A few pictures below to remind you how beautiful life can be beyond the computer screen. I look forward to reconnecting with you all next time I post!