Thinking About: A Digital Sabbatical

by justine

Sort of out of nowhere, the idea of a digital sabbatical popped into my head. I’m not sure if it’s mercury retrograde, being back to “normal” life, being away while on vacation or just a fluke idea. I don’t even have that much time to figure things out, as I’d like to start on Wednesday August 1st.

Oh irony, as I’ve spent a bunch of time this evening “researching” a digital sabbatical online. Susannah Conway did a digital detox, which seems more in line with my emotional goals for this time. Others work digital sabbaticals into each weekend. Some took 4 days, others, a month.

Here’s a list I read through that you can enjoy too:

For me, I know that it needs to be at least a week. It coincides with recalibrating my work routines and the feeling that August is here for me to reboot my life. The urge to go through things, sorting out what I want to let go and keeping what serves me… this is my jumping off point – my motivation.

Why am I doing this?

I just took 20+ days away from work for my wedding and honeymoon. It was glorious, but I found all the boredom / stress / anxiety entering into my actions via social media and Instagram. During vacation, I stayed off email and “off the grid” for work, but I mindlessly checked my phone. I logged onto Facebook, seeking comments and support, complain a bit on Twitter, and showed how awesome my life was via Instagram.

It’s addicting. And kind of pointless.

I want to feel present – with my husband in this new phase of our relationship, with my dog in his new rhythms, with my body, my work schedule and my own thoughts and emotions.

I want to reevaluate – how I spend my time, where I put my energy, how I use (and enjoy) my creativity.

I want more creativity – in my journaling, my writing, my photography, my art

I want a few more systems in place – things I can’t step back and think about or set-up unless I have some time

I want more quiet in my mind’s eye – computer screen at work, TV screen at home, Kindle screen for reading, iPhone screen for my phone… etc. Turn ’em off!

I want more human interaction with friends and family that’s deep – phone calls, letters, and hang-outs

The General Plan

I can not take full time off from email / the internet for work (just got back from a 20day vacation!), but I can build in some tight boundaries.

  • Actively cleaning up Facebook, Twitter, Email subscriptions, Inboxes, and LinkedIn – I’ll need some type of plan and schedule for this. Unsubscribe and delete!!
  • Take a full hiatus from Facebook & Twitter (personal) and check 1x per day for work
  • Tighten up my Flickr and Instagram accounts
  • Log onto Instagram 0 – 1x per day. Process photos but do not post to feed. (Airplane mode on phone)
  • No reading internet posts / blogs – deleting (mindless) web surfing for the full duration
  • Checking email 2x per day for work – 1x per day for personal (use ‘out of office’ replies and phone to connect)
  • Clean up hard-drives, desktops and back-up all files
  • Put e-books on Kindle and iPad
  • I am unsure if I want to post on my blog during this time

August 1st sounds like a great starting date. August 15th is 2 weeks, and August 19th feels good too come back.