TL;DR. I’m back online, but don’t expect prompt responses via email, DM, etc. Text me if you really need me.
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:
I also, mostly, no longer just do this:
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.
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.