Productivity,  Simplicity

Disconnect

As the days stretch into months I’ve gotten rather lazy when it comes to guarding my personal time. Whereas I used to go to extreme measures to have quiet time in which to write I found my days have become a whirlwhind of messages, comments, and other communications from folks both near and far. Every time I would sit down to write I would end up being interrupted, losing my train of thought, or going on some random goose chase down the halls of the Internet.

Ding.

Ding.

Ding.

<Hey, you on?>

<I see you’re online. Why are you ignoring me?>

Random thoughts. Pointless comments. Gifs and pics and jokes galore. The more I asked people to leave me be so that I could write the more they seemed to want to communicate until I realized that I was approaching my breaking point.

Early one morning as the beeps began I found myself missing my ancient Windows XP laptop. It might have been old and decrepit but it had one serious advantage: it couldn’t go online.

I could turn that old computer on and work all day without having to deal with a single person messaging me. They couldn’t, since the computer wasn’t connected to the Internet.

I leaped out of bed and dived for the ethernet cable attached to my computer. Soon it was unplugged and my world lapsed into silence.

I accomplished more today than I have in over a month.

Do you ever take time to disconnect from the Internet? Please share your stories in the comments below.

8 Comments

  • Carrie

    I use a Windows 10 system and have found that all of those notifications can be turned off within each of the apps you are connected to. I also find it best to log off of each site when I am finished so that it doesn’t look like I’m online. I only log in when I have time to chat, browse, or share. They are a time suck, for sure!

    • Annie

      Hi Carrie! I ended up uninstalling Facebook Messenger when I couldn’t locate the setting. When I’m free to chat, I log into the website from a browser currently. I do have Messenger installed on my iPad to allow my kids to reach me if their dad gets worse (or for when he finally passes). I believe my frustration stems more from the frustrated messages I receive when I DO go online than anything. It’s disturbing to know that you’re getting scolded for not being constantly available to chat because you’re working your butt off.

  • Linda Sand

    Have you tried turning off all notifications? My husband also uses a setting where his phone is sort of like in airplane mode in which everything is silent during his normal sleeping hours. In the morning those calls are all waiting for him. You could do that for work hours, too.

    • Annie

      That’s a good idea, Linda! I have some personal issues going on, so I do need to be available (my ex-husband is dying, so I need to be available for my kids at all times), so the stress of that, Katie graduating, and so forth is probably affecting my ability to reason things out.

  • Carla

    Inspired by a local pastor who was encouraging his “flock” to fast from something…if not food…then how about fasting from social media he said.
    Hmmmm….not a bad plan. And so yes, I’ve been off Twitter since around April 7th.
    Kinda feels a lot longer than it has actually been…. but I do find that I can give my blog more time and I’m not gobbling time reading stuff that wasn’t written particularly for moi.
    I must say, Annie, that one of the reasons I look up to your reservoir of books and blog writing is that you appear to have mastered the ability to really focus and produce the goods. Brava.

    • Annie

      Thank you so much Carla! I honestly cannot remember the last time I went on Twitter, though I use Facebook regularly to keep in touch with friends and family. I’ve got to find a balance in there somewhere but it is a challenge. I’ll figure it out.

  • Joshua Cogliati

    Well, every Saturday, unless I absolutely have to, I don’t use computers or the internet (this gets violated maybe one Saturday a year). Also, I try to only check facebook every other day (since that was a much bigger distraction than other online things I do).

    • Annie

      Good for you! I’m still working things out, but so far I’ve had a bit of luck with checking it briefly in the mornings, and occasionally in the afternoons once everything is done. I still have time suck issues, but at least it is getting better.