Off the Grid

I actually took the whole weekend off from email and work. It is something I haven’t done in a very long time and it actually felt pretty good. I stayed on email all day Friday and did my last check around 6 PM, then just packed it in for the weekend. I moved my personal email account out of Apple Mail — so it wouldn’t get mashed up with work … that let me send a couple of personal emails without getting in the middle of what is typically an avalanche of stuff coming my way over the weekend. I did this to spend more real time with the family and to stem the inevitable Friday evening email that makes my weekend taste sour. It was worth it.

The damage was reveled this morning around 6:30 AM when I opened it back up … about 85 work emails and a handful of others from a couple of various accounts. Once I killed the spam and the unrelated stuff there were honestly only about 20 actionable notes … my wife asked me if the state of educational technology had fallen since I logged off on Friday. Cute. Obviously it hadn’t. What did I miss? A few things that I probably should have been connected to, but at the end of the day it was all stuff that could wait.

My question to anyone reading is how you deal with down time — weekends, holidays, etc? Do you go off the grid when the work day is over? I’m not sure I can pull it off every weekend, but it is an excellent exercise every now and then.

5 thoughts on “Off the Grid

  1. Cole, I completely agree with you on the value of unplugging. I spent the weekend in rural Montana, without laptop. No internet connectivity. No email. No RSS. No twitter. And the internets just chugged along fine without me. I’m working on being OK with pulling myself out of the stream. It’s not like I’d actually miss anything, once I dip back in. Says the guy commenting on Twittered blog posts at 7:30pm on a Monday night… 😉 Baby steps…

  2. Hi Cole,
    I have two small kids, so I face some of the same challenges with my time. I try to do very minimal email checks (but no replying, etc..) over the weekend. As my husband says, he wants to check it so that he knows what’s there, but that doesn’t mean he has to deal with it that day (or even the next).

    It is hard, primarily because I do nearly all of my reading on the Web. If opening my computer at home means I am “working”, that also means I lose the ability to catch up on the news, etc…

    It’s a conundrum. Something tells me that the next generation will not face this tension nearly as much as we do. Technology will have been so fully integrated into their lives from the get-go that staying connected (while still leaving work behind) will become easier and more intuitive. (At least, I hope that is what happens.)

  3. I go off grid when I need to. So I self-monitor and if I’m stressed or find myself skipping over things I should attend to, away goes the computer.

    For me, this means restructuring my work “day.” It’s not 9-5. It may be 7-11:30, then 3:00-7:00, for example. Fortunately, I have a job where this flexibility exists. Not everyone is so lucky. If I was chained to a desk 8-5, I would not take my computer home with me.

  4. I manage to keep my work and personal lives separated pretty well. I very rarely check my work email at home. I’m pretty chained to my desk and I make it a point not to take my laptop home with me if at all possible.

    Of course, having 3 kids four and under makes it pretty much impossible to do anything at home anyway 🙂

    During the evening, I catch up on personal email, news and other “web” activities on my Mac and keep it at that. I’m also extremely cheap, so I view having my PC on and not being used as a waste of electricity, so I can justify keeping it off by telling myself that I’m saving money on the electric bill.

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