It's Good to Leave the Room


I finished reading Hamlet's Blackberry* by William Powers a little over three weeks ago and by the time I made my way back to the library to return it, I'd found myself opening it up and re-reading certain passages again.

It was that good. 

It's not often I find myself saying what I'm about to say because it's not often true; me and words go together like peas and carrots.**  But here goes: 

This book articulated emerging truths about our over connected digital world, ideas I've long suspected on a subconscious level but lacked the words and clarity to say myself. 

Or perhaps I've simply been so connected, so tuned in that clarity was impossible.  I am overly fond of saying that I suffer from internet-induced ADHD. 

I won't spoil this book for you because I think if you've ever felt overwhelmed by email, social media, or the barrage of non-stop information available in our highly connected age, you should grab a copy of Hamlet's Blackberry, find a quiet corner (preferably one far away from all TVs, computers, and smartphones) and read it for yourself.

What I'll do instead is tell you what I'm taking away from this book.  Sound fair?

:: Being connected should be a tool used to enhance our real lives, not a replacement for real life.

:: Access to information is good; information overload is not so good, both for our brains (how can we process anything if we're under an information siege 24/7?) and for our bodies (life connected to the crowd 24/7 creates a heightened sense of urgency and increases our stress levels as well as decreases our rest time - both mental and physical).

And, most importantly, this:

:: It's good to step away from the digital crowd.  In fact, it's necessary to leave the digital room to find the mental solitude to truly think, reflect, and create.

And that last one - seeking digital solitude -  is exactly what I've found myself doing more and more lately. 

Don't get me wrong - I'm not going Amish on you.  My laptop is still on the kitchen counter, my iPhone is still in my purse, and obviously (given this post) I'm still blogging.

What I am doing is looking at how I use the amazing digital tools we have (literally) at our fingertips and asking myself, "How can I use this better?  More efficiently?  To help me do more by doing less?"

It's most definitely a process; I mean, the lure of insta-info is like a siren song for my Type-A, organizationally-geared brain.  But I'm trying. 

How about you?  Ever feel like stepping back, stepping away, turning off and tuning out?  What do you do to seek solitude from the digital crowd?

*Amazon affiliate link, just so you know.  ;-)

**I do so love Forrest Gump.