Closing The Computer
This weekend I intentionally left my computer at my office on Friday afternoon, forcing myself to abandon the temptation to read, send email, or otherwise try to get shit done via the device I use most heavily during weekends full of work.
It’s probably been three years since I’ve not had access to a laptop from friday to monday morning. While apprehensive at the outset, I achieved a few states of mind that set me free in many ways from the all to welcome shackle of keyboard and screen. Here’s what happened:
- I went outside - and actually stayed outside. Not just to walk the dog and stop at a coffee shop to send some emails and work on a deck or project.
- I hung out with friends without feeling a need to shape that time spent with people I genuinely enjoy around bookends when I could escape back to my computer.
- I read! I read like I haven’t in a while because so much of my reading today happens in erratic jumps from blogpost to RSS feed without much substance taken in along the way. I read paper books on the beach and in the grass. It felt amazing and I was completely immersed in each page.
- My thoughts wondered not between forgotten to-do list items as they normally would but to the alleyways and corners of my mind I wish to visit as often as I can. I was thinking more, planning and worrying less.
- I stayed out later, thinking I’d have some more time to ease into mornings, not waking up and opening my computer in bed to begin fretting over items or emails.
I guess when it comes down to it, I did what you’re supposed to do on the weekends - take a fucking break. For someone who prides themselves on time management, I can be terrible at compartmentalizing and have trouble letting go of the task at hand. Work to me is the basis of everything I enjoy and feel deeply passionate about, so I embody it at all times.
Part of the experience for me this weekend was recognizing that it doesn’t deteriorate from impact or performance to step aside from the literal embodiment of work and see where you mind and body go. I think I went to incredible places this weekend that I wouldn’t have found buried in my immediate responsibilities.
A few people speak often about taking this type of mental and device pause. My friend Tony has the technical sabbath and he’s one of the most productive and thoughtful people I know. I’ll strive to emulate this in my own way more often. My hope is that it becomes a more seamless part of my day-to-day, not always requiring a forced separation over a weekend.
Time spent in other pursuits and experiences can only enhance and expand the mind and often can solve the problems you’ve been fretting over all day or week. Of course, I was seeing emails come in all weekend on my phone and was stressed enough to wake up before sunrise Monday AM to get back to it.
Maybe I’m not ready for the mobile sabbath, but there’s a balance there somewhere - I hope to find it in the near future.