TL;DR. I’m back online, but don’t expect prompt responses via email, DM, etc. Text me if you really need me.

I’m back!

(a Boston ter­rier pops into view and smiles)

Hi.

For the first few weeks of 2017, the goal for me was to log off and stay off. I had a bunch of self-imposed rules around this, but the goal was ulti­mately: to hit the reset but­ton on habits that were becom­ing unhealthy.

And for that, I suc­ceeded! I no longer feel quite as much like Hei­hei from Moana:

Hei­hei pecking

I also, mostly, no longer just do this:

(fire burn­ing as Moss of The IT Crowd types)

Part of this is the oft-mentioned “self-care,” which, if you’re not famil­iar, please check out some resources (also from Paul, Amanda, Eileen). It’s putting on your oxy­gen mask before try­ing to help oth­ers. You can’t help any­one else fur­ther if you’ve already passed out.

Part of this is being more self-aware: rec­og­niz­ing my ten­den­cies, when habits are detract­ing from other parts of my life, all that.

Another thing that helped dur­ing this time: Bud­dhist prac­tices like mind­ful­ness.

A side note here: when I went to find that arti­cle, I did not know it fea­tured one of my own pho­tos. But there it is! Appro­pri­ately cred­ited, even.

Let me be clear: this isn’t technology’s fault, though cer­tainly many of these prod­ucts are made to be habit-forming, so that plat­forms and pro­duc­ers can make money from us. And I get that. But tech shouldn’t be a scapegoat.

See also: How I Got My Atten­tion Back.

I dis­cov­ered this basi­cally after the fact, but it’s use­ful: Fast Company’s Guide to Unplug­ging.

So, in short, I’m tak­ing mea­sures to ensure that despite the fire that may be burn­ing behind me, I retain my chill.

(thumbs up with fire burn­ing behind)

And that, hon­estly, means main­tain­ing some of the rules — or at least mod­i­fied ver­sions thereof — that I set up for myself dur­ing this time.

I can­not be ruled by expec­ta­tions. That may mean dis­ap­point­ing some peo­ple, long wait times on responses, miss­ing some events, and not see­ing that post you assume I’ll have caught by then — I’ll note this last one hap­pens a lot!

Thus: please don’t assume I (or any­one else) has read every­thing you pro­duce. It’s not super fair to either person.

This is me own­ing my atten­tion, and apply­ing it judiciously.

Thank you in advance for respect­ing this, and thus me.

Good job, you.

Stephen Col­bert and Jon Stew­art: Wow! Bravo!