Share This Article
There will likely always be conversations about our “connected” time. How much screen time is too much? How much work time is too much? How much family time is ideal? In reality, the answers will vary for each individual and their situation. Some people, by nature of their job, need to be plugged into computers or screens constantly. Some people are simply workaholics. Some are easily addicted to social media, entertainment, or games. It’s difficult to say exactly what the “ideal” time is for work, screens, family, and recreation. We should hesitate to prescribe it for others.
What we CAN do is introduce disconnected time. Your definition of disconnected time is personal to you, but essentially disconnected time is the intentional time we spend away from our regular routine. It might mean a social-media free weekend. It could be refusing to answer emails or complete work projects after 5 pm. Or maybe it means spending a few hours on a Saturday morning hiking by yourself without anyone else. Disconnected time is simply removing connections which, while important, can also drain your resources.
Disconnected time has multiple benefits. One of the primary benefits is recharging. Many of our “connections” require attention and energy from us, so disconnecting can prevent extra energy expenditure. And strong disconnected time can actually replenish drained energy.
Another benefit is perspective. By disconnecting you are able to take a different view of your life and situation. When you step away from work you can more accurately see your work. When you take time by yourself, you can see a perspective that isn’t just what you’re hearing from family and friends. When you turn off your phone you notice the sunset.
Disconnection also has the benefit of breaking loops and bad habits. Choosing to stop working at 5 pm can force you to drop a problem you were wrestling with, allowing a fresh start tomorrow. Stepping away from your computer on the weekends can keep you from reaching for a new tab to research every tiny detail of something. Declaring your weeknights as video-game-free time can help you prevent addiction or overuse.
Making the Most of Connected Time
Finally, the most important benefit of disconnected time is that it helps you appreciate and use your connected time more wisely. You don’t waste time that is somewhat limited. You are appreciative of the time with family or friends. You have the pleasure of catching up on social media when you’ve come back to it after a break. You come back to connected time happier, healthier, more refreshed, and with greater perspective – which all leads to BETTER connected time.
Choose a way to disconnect this week – disconnect from something that requires much attention. Choose a period of time to disconnect, and enjoy the disconnection. Then return to “connection” to make the most of it, and reap the benefits.