I can often be heard to proclaim, “My greatest treasure is Unstructured Time.” Love me a day to myself. And yet, as I’ve spent less time in the law office, I’m not more productive.
What’s up with that, Grace Ann?
Part of what’s up with that is that I’ve given the cyber world an inch, and it has a taken half the State of Grace. Social media threads about the serious problem of click-farm books on Amazon, the best way to promote a book during the summer slump (into which Too Scot to Handle squarely falls), or who else is going to the RWA Literacy for Life book signing in Orlando on July 29… all steal a chunk of time.
And beyond a small increment of information, they offer no benefit. Turns out, if you want to feel more connected to others, one of the best ways to do that is to unplug and spend time alone. Why? Because alone-time is when we figure out what we believe, where our challenges lie, and who we are.
When those questions are ignored, we’re more prone to wandering the cyber world, clicking the day away, and trying to evade a fundamental sense of rootlessness.
The cyber newsfeed thus becomes a pernicious temptation when you consider that negativity-based stories (with anxiety, fear, or hatred as their subtext) are almost impossible to forget or ignore–and the media absolutely knows this and depends on the neuro-science behind it to stay in business.
So on the one hand, the cyber world has become increasingly skilled at keeping us staring at the screen; on the other hand, the more we check email when standing in line, surf headlines while waiting for an appointment, or play-list while walking, the less we have an identity secure enough to withstand the spin, lies, and fakery.
Pretty nasty stuff out there, and the stuff we carry inside–problems, emotions, big questions–isn’t easy to deal with either. But I’m going on the record here before people whom I trust and respect as promising to prune back my cyber footprint. I have books to write, blogs to write, books to read, a yard to play in, friends to share a cup of tea with.
If I’m on FB, it will be to post on my page before I go larking off to argue about climate change.
My phone will stay out of sight and across the room when I’m writing (and that ALONE will increase my ability to focus and problem solve).
I’ll wait in line with myself, drive around in my own exclusive company, and sit outside on the porch with a cup of tea at least once a day…. unless, of course, the Welsh Duke should decide to join me.
What’s your relationship with the cyber world? With you too much late and soon? Not a problem? Something in between? To one commenter, I’ll send an audio version of Too Scot to Handle, once it goes on sale!