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…