How unplugging can make your time online more meaningful

snorkeling in vanuatu

What you could be looking at instead of your computer screen


Every now and then I take a break from the online world and always the same thing happens. I come back to an inbox full of emails, a blog that hasn’t been updated for a while and a whole lot of questions.

What’s important?

How can I stay connected and still feel the peace I am feeling now?

What can I do differently, so that what I do makes a difference?

I open my email

Of course, I’m not going to go through the hundreds of emails I see there. I feel drawn to open a handful of them. I delete everything else. I unsubscribe. If I’m not tempted to read these emails when I’m forced to make a choice, then there’s no reason for me to read them when I have a spare minute or two. I can use my time for something that brings me more joy.

I look at my blog

It’s as if I’m meeting an old friend and I’m unsure whether or not we’ll connect again. You know how it happens with old friends. Sometimes you hit it off straight away. Other times you find you’ve grown worlds apart and there’s no way of bridging the gap now. Or maybe, you just need more time to get used to each other again. Which seems to be our case.

I realise that a lot of my writing before the break was on autopilot. I was just writing what I felt like writing… and there’s nothing wrong with that. This approach has served me well over the years. I’ve discovered a lot about myself, what I like, what I dislike, what I’m good at and what I’d better leave to someone else. But now I want something different. The reasons why I started blogging years ago are no longer the reasons why I want to blog today. So it’s back to the drawing board. It may take me some time to discover what that next level for me will be, but I’m up for it.

What about social media?

I don’t normally spend a whole lot of time on social media, but it turns out it could be even less. I checked twitter on my return from holidays. It was still exactly the same. It didn’t look like I’d missed much at all.

Facebook? Clearly Facebook is not the most important thing in my life. For a few days I forgot it even existed. When I finally checked it, I was relieved that I did, because I almost missed a meetup of my mastermind group. And that was it. There are a couple of online groups that I love staying in touch with, so I subscribed to get notifications for them. Other than that, Facebook will be getting even less of my attention than it used to.

If you’re struggling to organise your time online, I will definitely recommend unplugging for a while. When you step away from something that’s causing you a lot of stress, it’s easy to see things differently. And to understand what truly matters to you.