The current social technology backlash has not only seen me respond in order to defend the tools and channels I use.. (http://bit.ly/frVzww) It has also seen me reflect on the amount of downtime I take in a day and how important that is.
The digital social tools we use are amazing. Sharing ideas and thoughts worldwide in the blink of an eye. But without a little time away to formulate these thoughts and ideas, we just regurgitate and retweet the same things round and round to one another.
I often get asked how much time I spend online.. Technically I am connected all day through a mobile device but I only spend about 4-6hours at a desk, 4 days of the week and have at least 4 hours of my day where I’m doing something that nurtures thought. Normally with my devices either off or out of reach.
In order to be innovative we need this quiet time to formulate our ideas.. Where do you go to think?
I have times I walk the dog with headphones and times I walk without. It’s always when I’m unplugged that I get the ideas that stay with me. For fun I occasionally go and practice bushcraft and although this gives me a chance to experiment with new tech and off grid power, it also allows me time to turn things off. It’s only recently I realised why I enjoy ignoring the dishwasher and washing plates ‘manually’. I can look out on the garden and just think. Sound’s strange but I ride a motorbike for the same reason. Yes, you have to keep your wits about you but there is still plenty of time to be alone in your crash helmet on the open road.
I find these places and spaces not only important for creative thinking. I feel we need them for our sanity. The tools allowing us to filter the chaos are not yet ripe enough for mass consumption so it is up to us to dial it down. If I need to get a piece of writing done efficiently and in limited time i use Ommwriter. It shuts off my notifications and gives me a blank page. There are more and more ways for us to focus but sometimes turning everything off is the easiest way.
Don’t look at those fronting the digital backlash as the enemy. Behind the sensationalist articles and bandwagon reporting are some interesting studies into the evolution of our brains.
The pioneers on the information revolution are forging forward with out any protective gear. They take a high pressure pixel hosing from multiple screens and the subconscious mind can’t process fast enough as it’s crammed full of noughts and one’s.
Until the equipment comes enabling us to filter, stem and channel all this input our only defence is the off button.
Should you want to know more, people are dropping some great comments and resources on the bottom of this blogpost: http://bit.ly/frVzww