I was also able to reach a certain sort of stability and inner peace that I haven't felt for a long time. I think when you're getting constant, and hugely varied input, it's difficult, and tiring, to maintain a stable mindset.
I didn't miss anything important
The addictive nature of digital is in the psychology of random rewards. It's what keeps compulsive gamblers coming back for more. That same compulsion has us checking our phones 20 times an hour to see if it's provided anything juicy! And when we're in that mental state, even auntie Joan's new puppy can give us a little bit of what we need.
The beauty of checking in every day or couple of days, and on my own terms was that I was able to override the 'random' part of the equation and take control. I could also see, real time, that I wasn't actually missing anything. I didn't look at any feeds on social media, just the notifications. And almost all of them were things I could choose not to engage with.
I've spent a great deal of this morning writing emails to apologise for the delay in replying or for my radio silence. Not a single person has questioned me or taken it as a negative. In a world where we know that people are constantly online, it's easy to have unreasonable expectations of ourselves and others in terms of how quickly we should expect a response. As I said earlier, I didn't let anyone know I was going off grid, I just disappeared!
I learned a lot about boundaries
I've had some time to think about what could have brought on that sense of burnout that I felt three weeks ago and I've realised it has a lot to do with boundaries, or more accurately the blurring of them. When I worked for someone else, I could do all the obvious things like arrange cover and let my contacts know I was going to be away but I also had permission to actively choose the life side of the work life equation for a fixed period of time. That came with it's own burdens... such as 'the fear', but it was nice to feel I could walk away for a while.
When you run a business, especially one that largely exists online, there's nowhere to hide. You can't shut your doors and go home. The only personal/work boundaries are the ones we set ourselves, and when we're encouraged to bring ourselves into the equation as much as possible, there really isn't much latitude. I've decided to keep my social media notifications switched off for now!
I hope I've inspired you to try and give yourself some mental space away from the online world. It really is a great thing to do to regain perspective and feel, well, better really! Normal service will be resumed next week!
Get in touch - let me know how you feel about being online and on social media. I'd love to hear from you - firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you'd like to chat, how about booking a 30 minute call using the button below: