Digital Sabbatical = brain growth

Thanks to everyone who has asked about my digital sabbatical. It was fantastic. The best way I can describe it? Remember the part in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when his heart grows three sizes?

 Without the addictive stimulation and distractions of digital life it feels like my brain grew three sizes.

And I returned to an empty inbox. (It filled up again immediately, but it sure looked good empty for that one minute)

For everyone who has asked for the autoreply message I used, here is the text for you to use/modify:

Subject line: It's 1989 and I'm on an EMAIL SABBATICAL [date 1] - [date 2]

"In 1990 I got a Stanford email address that I shared with 2 other graduate students. And a CompuServe address of my very own. I haven't been off email since. I will be off email, blogs, twitter, and all other forms of digital communication until [Date]. I'm going back in time to 1989.

All emails received between [date] and [date] are being automatically deleted. I won't read them. If it's important, please email me again after [date], when I will be returning to the present day.

If you have a question about [all the stuff you do but have put someone else in charge of while you are offline], please contact [your designated contact person]"
I also took the Twitter app off my phone. I shut off the email accounts on my phone and buried the app icon in a folder. I'm keeping it that way. My phone is now a phone/texting device. With a map on it. That takes pictures. We'll see how long I can last this way.

All credit really goes to danah boyd, for her advice on how to do this.

I encourage you to give it a try.


Lori Larson said...

Hi Lucy,
Sounds like a fantastic idea and you sound refreshed and re-energized. Did you maintain your normal work schedule during this time but just remove the digital piece?

Appreciate your advice!

Lori Larson

Lucy Bernholz said...

I was off on a writing retreat, which was what inspired me to log off the digital world. But before I went away I started changing my digital practices. Took twitter off phone. Only checked email 2x day (or tried to).
So now that I'm back at regular work I'm trying to continue the more disciplined/limited approach. For me, best was turning phone back into a phone. Now I'm just online when I'm at the computer and at desk, not at meetings, etc.