We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much – if at all. – Steve Jobs
People that know me, know that I always have tons of tech gadgets with me; cell phone, smartwatch, headphones, tablet, chargers, Bluetooth keyboard, back-up power packs and sometimes other little tech gadgets. I love technology, being on social media and admit that I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). At work I am unofficially the person that people go to when they have computer woes. I am not in technical support but I can usually help people fix what’s wrong or help them with using the different office programs. So the thought of being without email, internet and social media for any length of time frightens me a little.
Last weekend I unplugged. My family and I went to visit good friends at their cottage on a lake in St-Donat, Quebec. I had one piece of technology with me: my Sony Xperia Z3. I had it with me to use as a ‘camera’ because it takes better pictures than my old DSLR camera (see the pics below). The phone is also waterproof and easier to carry around. My friend’s cottage is located in the Laurentians and falls in an area that has extremely limited cell coverage (you have to climb certain rocks or hold your phone up in the air in various locations to get any bars) and there is no internet or Wi-Fi at the cottage.
The weather was less than ideal – it rained and it was cloudy and cool all weekend. Nevertheless we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. I got to spend quality time with my family and my good friends and their family. We spent time relaxing around the fireplace, enjoying good conversation, and ate some good food. Life slowed down for those 3 days. I recharged and regained focus.
Unplugging – for any length of time can help you gain new perspectives on life and it can help you re-prioritize your goals and see what’s really important. Consider the following information:
- 84% of cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their device. (source)
- 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. (source)
- Studies indicate some mobile device owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes. (source)
- 88% of U.S. consumers use mobile devices as a second screen even while watching television. (source)
- Almost half of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls. (source)
I am not about to give up all my technology but it is all about balance. I live a mobile lifestyle and that means that each day I make choices and prioritize what I need (work-wise, family-wise and personally). Technology helps me with that but there are times when we all need to unplug, unwind, and take the time to ‘smell the flowers.’ I am going to try to incorporate ‘unplugged’ weekends more often. I learned from this past weekend that my email did not blow up because I was not there to respond right away, Twitter continued on without me, and I survived.
Even though I unplugged from my email and the internet, I am glad I had my phone with me (I can’t go completely cold turkey). My Xperia Z3 took some great pictures at the cottage and it was fun to have to play music through, using a Bluetooth speaker on the dock. I dropped the Z3 in the sand a couple of times and it rained a lot, so it is very helpful that it is waterproof and dustproof. I even tested the Z3 under water in the lake – admittedly I was a bit scared to dunk it into the lake even though it is waterproof. But it still works perfectly.
Photos from my weekend at the cottage, all taken with my Z3:
While taking the above photos I turned around to find a visitor on the dock:
The following photo was taken underwater in the lake with my Z3 – it is not a great photo which is entirely my fault as the user. My daughter and I were bad at coordinating taking a photo of her underwater and I refused to go swimming in the cold lake. But it still shows that the Z3 works fine underwater.
I took the time to smell the flowers in the rain. (I love taking photos of flowers.)
Take time to unplug every now and then. The online world will still be there when you return.
Photo credit: Big stock