I walked home from my parent’s house yesterday. It was raining but the weather is unseasonably warm in Toronto this year – global warming, anyone?
Since it was raining and because I had 20 minutes alone, I decided not to look at my iPhone. No checking email or whether people had visited my LinkedIn profile, or whether my Instagram posts had been liked.
Instead, I walked home in the rain.
I gave myself the freedom to think rather than be digital. And the ideas flowed. Ideas about how to market my video course in a new way. Ideas about how to improve my tennis backend – a neverending battle! Ideas on how to manage my finances.
The walk was only 20 minutes from it was rock-solid think time. It’s something that sadly doesn’t happen enough because like most people I’m a digital junkie. I like spending time on the Internet. I like being connected.
At the same time, I’m more than aware of my addiction. I recognize that spending too much time online is unhealthy, unproductive and hammers my creativity.
So sometimes, I fight back. I walk away from the keyboard. Fortunately, I’m passionate about hockey and tennis, which make it easy to disconnect. I mean, you can’t be thinking about blog posts when you’re trying to roof a snapshot.
When I look at how smartphones have become a societal obsession, it feels like the pendulum will eventually swing back.
Perhaps optimistically, I believe people will eventually realize spending most of your time looking facedown is unhealthy. When you see proposed laws to prevent people from crossing the street looking at their smartphones, it is a sign that things need to be fixed.
The Internet is an amazing machine. It is profoundly changing how we live, work and play. At the same time, there’s a big, beautiful non-digital world to explore and enjoy.
Walking away from your digital devices delivers the freedom to smell the proverbial flowers, allow our minds to wonder and just think.