Amber J. Unplugged

For the last month, I haven’t had an Internet connection at my house. Basically, I have been living in a bubble. I never watch T.V. (we don’t have cable), and my Internet access is restricted to weekdays at work.

I’ve read  a lot of articles about the value of unplugging  technologically on several of my fav lifestyle design blogs.  I made the decision to unplug when my former roomate moved, taking the modem with her. I decided to try life offline. After all, I spend 7 hours of my day in front of a computer screen for five days straight.  I figured I could hack it.

Most people react with horror when I tell them I am net-less right now. We generally acknowledge that T.V. can be lived without, but the Internet, no way!  What if I miss a party invite on Facebook? Because who doesn’t spend a good chunk of time on FB daily?

Honestly, living without Internet access in my off hours hasn’t been half-bad. I’ve gotten caught up on a lot of books, spent more time with friends after work, and focused on getting in touch with my feelings the way I used to do before the way of the status update: by writing my thoughts down in my journal.

Without the ability to update the world on my current mood, I became forced to actually work through my emotions to the point of thinking about the problem in a logical manner.  It’s been a little revolutionary.

I think that was the most surprising part of this no-net experiment: being forced to get in touch with my inner emotions.  Previously, I’ve used the Internet as a well-meaning, sophisticated procrastination tool.  Anytime I was anxious about career stuff, I’d jump online to do “research” that usually lead me to clicking through the pictures of some random friend from high school’s bday party pics.

Now, I am forced to define exactly what I want to achieve during my online time. I get on and pretty much get it done. I still take the time to randomly surf a little, but it’s usually articles that sound interesting, versus spending too much time on social networking sites.  I’d rather spend my time being social with the people I care about.

Do you want to try an unplugging experiment?  Here are my random tips for moving forward with your life without stalling it online.

1. Check e-mail less frequently. A lot less frequently.
What do you think will happen if you only check your e-mail twice a day? Nothing, that’s what. The world won’t explode. You really won’t miss much (as anything you need to know will still be relevant when you do check your mail.) If you know something is time sensitive, you would be on the look out for it anyway, right?

2.  Set an agenda for what you want to accomplish. Including time for random surfing.
These days when I cut on my comp at work, I have a list of things I want to research online. During my offline time, I write down the things I am curious about, so I’m all set with an agenda.

3.  Relish in life outside of the world wide web.
Dinner and drinks with friends, long chats with my friends back home. No amount of checking my e-mail can replace these experiences and the joy I derive from them.

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