Take an Information Vacation

by Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. on 10/27/2010

image via commons.wikimedia.org

Are you an information addict?  A news junkie?  A Facebook frequenter, a Twitterer or devotee of other social media?  A slave to your PDA or fancy phone?  The costs of this information addiction are well documented.  No wonder it’s becoming chic these days to ‘go off the grid’ for a period of time.  There are many good reasons to take breaks from the electronic aspects of our lives.  This is especially true for creative and multi-talented people (a.k.a. DaVincis).

Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, advocates minimizing electronic assaults by taking an Information Vacation. No checking email.  No web surfing.  No Twittering or Facebooking or watching the news.  No laptop activities of any kind.  No PDA.  No TV either.  Worried about missing some important new story?  You won’t.  Hey, you even have an automatic conversation aid when talking with people:  “I’ve been away from the internet — what’s going on in the world?”

Some groups have been practicing a regular, weekly ‘down time’ for millennia.  An Orthodox friend told me how grateful she is for her religion’s practice of taking 24 hour ‘time outs’ once a week.  It’s how she copes with this mad, electronic age.  She doubts she could manage her work, parenting, community service and everything else she juggles without stopping each and every week to unplug and re-energize.

You don’t need to join a religious group to reap the same benefits.

Why Take an Information Vacation?

1.  To relax.

If you’re a multi-talented person, you’ve got an awful lot going on.  If you’re also battling information addiction, you’re putting yourself under even more stress.  Your mind and body need some high quality relaxation.  Once refreshed, you’ll be better able to tackle the many things on your creative plate.

2.  To take a break from negativity.

A lot of news and current events are horrible and depressing.  (If it bleeds — or grosses out — or titillates — or infuriates — it leads).  You owe it to your many talents to take a break from all that.  Particularly if you’re feeling blue or blah or otherwise out of sorts.  An Information Vacation is an effective Rx for many mood ailments.

3.  To refill your creative well.

Sure, you can get some ideas from the internet and television and your Facebook news feed.  But once your creative cup is full, all the extra data is just sloshing over the rim, making a mess.  By taking an Information Vacation, you can push aside all those outside voices and let your own creative ideas burble back up.  When you’re unplugged, you can simply daydream and let your creative spirit play.  Ah…isn’t that better?

4.  To re-energize.

At the risk of repeating the point, creative people are susceptible to the nefarious forces of many electronic media.  Information addiction saps our strength and drains us of creative energy.  When we silence the media cacophony, we allow our minds, bodies and spirits to re-energize.  If you’ve been feeling fatigued or exhausted with no real reason, try taking an Information Vacation.  Odds are high, you’ll regain your former verve.

5.  To reward yourself.

Many DaVincis are far too hard on themselves.  They rarely reward themselves and they don’t indulge in nearly enough fun. Ideally, an Information Vacation can be a guilt-free treat for all the good works you’re doing.  It’s a well-earned treat to do the unplugged things you love.

6.  To reconnect with people (and pets).

Information addiction can isolate you from the world. The more time you spend online the less you’re spending interacting with your friends, family and community members.  Socializing is a basic human need.  An Information Vacation allows us to reconnect with the people (and animals) who give our life meaning.

7.   To improve your health.

Reducing stress improves every bodily function.  An easy, effective way to enhance your well-being is to remove yourself for the stream of stressors known as the information highway.  Give your body a treat by unplugging, at least temporarily, from the electronic world.

How to Take an Information Vacation

Ideally for a whole day (or even for the whole weekend!) but if that’s out of the question, then at least pick one evening to unplug.  No checking email.  No web surfing.  No Twittering or Facebooking or watching the news.  No laptop activities of any kind.  No PDA.  No TV either.  Take some time to do ANYTHING else.  Read a book, have a nap, play a board game, listen to some music, make something, take a walk, meditate, try a yoga pose or two, make a nice meal & eat mindfully, catch up with your household members, go to a concert or play — the sky’s the limit.

Activity: List ten unplugged activities you enjoy
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Activity: Select an evening or a full day (or two!) to unplug.  Schedule it. Prevent/avoid anything that would break or disrupt your appointment.  During your scheduled time, avoid your computer, TV, PDA — anything electronic. Instead, do any of the unplugged activities you enjoy.

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Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/.

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