Over the course of this summer, I've seen many people claim to be "unplugging" while away. I'll get auto-responder emails (which are pretty much the worst thing ever) about them being away, followed later that afternoon by the uploading of 30 Facebook photos.
I'll hear people who are ecstatic to leave the country because it means they're harder to reach. People are excited to log off of social media which has now become part of their job function.
Ultimately, I think we're misunderstanding what it means to unplug. Damn these blurred lines.
At one time, unplugging meant not working. This is what you did on a vacation.
But then along came social media platforms, which were largely recreational and fun. We used them to stay in touch, even while not working.
And now we work on social media, so it's tough to unplug if we mean to not work while still staying plugged in to our personal networks. So what's a 21st century employee, entrepreneur, or human to do?
A few thoughts:
- If you want to get away from it all and truly be isolated, then you need to unplug all the way. Meaning, ditch the digital tools altogether and don't check emails, texts, social media, or telegraphs.
- If you hate Facebook, don't just log off when you're not at work. Log off, kill your account, and spend time with some other tool or toy that you enjoy.
- You don't have to go somewhere to unplug. You can stay put and turn it all off.
- If you unplug even halfway, don't tell us how you're going to unplug while staying plugged in. The "totally unplugged FTW!" Facebook status is my favorite.
- Remember that today, life and work are very nearly the same. Stop pretending they can be isolated and separated and instead lean in to the blur.
What about you? Do you unplug? Do you halfway plug in? What's the best way to stay sane?