Checking Out

Most of the time I spend online is what I would consider productive time. Connecting with people, learning new information, responding to problems. I can state with absolute certainty that I’m a better teacher because of the connections and conversations I’ve made and had. However, I’ve become aware of the subtle and occasionally not subtle ways in which I use technology to “check out” of physical/real/embodied life. I’m hoping to become more disciplined in my use of technology, and to that end I’m handing over my computer and phone to a friend for the next two days.

I imagine two kinds of reactions 1) What’s the big deal? It’s 52 hours. 2) Wow. It’d be hard to live without tech for that long.

I clearly fall into the latter camp and am in awe of people who disconnect for weeks or months, although I think shorter breaks would be more difficult than long-term disconnections.

It’s not really a work/life balance issue for me. I’m not convinced that such a balance can actually occur, but having said that I have no problem not checking my work email for a day or two over the weekend or for a week or more in the summer.

Checking email or mindlessly surfing the internet makes me feel calmer. It’s a procrastination and distraction technique with enough good work mixed in that it makes it easier to justify to myself. I recognize this in some of my students and think I could be a better model for them. (First response when I told my students I would be offline for two days- “You’re going to die, Ms. Stewart :))

So time for a break…

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4 thoughts on “Checking Out

  1. “Checking email or mindlessly surfing the internet makes me feel calmer. It’s a procrastination and distraction technique with enough good work mixed in that it makes it easier to justify to myself.”

    This is very true for me and something I’d never realized until I read it in your post!

  2. “However, I’ve become aware of the subtle and occasionally not subtle ways in which I use technology to “check out” of physical/real/embodied life.”

    I’ve been feeling the same way. I’m not sure if it’s just because, like you, I’ve found my experiences with technology so fulfilling, or because I’m tired and it’s a good way to escape for a bit, or because I’m becoming ever so slightly addicted to it.

    This weekend I’ll spend with family, so it won’t be hard to ‘check out’.

    Enjoy your two days, Meredith.

  3. Becky and I are starting a routine where we’re limiting ourselves to 1 hour on the computer at night. I can admit that I’m a bit nervous. I’m hoping that it makes me more productive in that 1 hour, but we’ll see.

    Best of luck, Meredith. See you on the other side (of your 52 hours)!

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