August 14, 2011

How Did My Social Media Ban Go This Weekend?

August 14, 2011

How Did My Social Media Ban Go This Weekend?

Clutter. That’s the only word to describe recent weeks. Lots of market chaos, new business, expansion on media endeavors, and increasing attention demands from my toddler.

So I tried a de-clutter experiment this weekend: no email, no texting, no Twitter, no Facebook, no web surfing. Not even any photos despite the fact that I had my son solo on Saturday while my wife took some downtime. It revealed a lot about memory and productivity.

I’m continually astounded by my boy’s memory. He’ll regularly reference the name of a kid he met or a specific tree he saw a year ago, and he’s not even three yet.

During my media ban this weekend, it hit home why his memory is so good: because he’s in the moment. He’s not halfway into documenting the moment or halfway planning the next moment. He’s all the way into whatever he’s doing.

My wife, in her infinite wisdom, has pointed this out before. It just didn’t sink in for me until I took two days to be in the moment. The results were better than I’d hoped: a much clearer head while enjoying my family, and better ability to focus after.

Today I hammered out two pieces of writing in less than half the time it normally takes me.

Same for this piece, it’s coming out without stopping to think, and more important: without stopping to check email and Twitter and voicemail and Facebook.

Not that a technology addict of my level has the discipline to simply not check. I put my phone on airplane mode so I can’t check.

That will likely be a problem as I re-enter the matrix shortly, but hopefully my in-the-moment mind will be better able to handle the onslaught.

There was no particular impetus nor plan for my media ban this weekend. I just started playing with my son Saturday morning and decided about an hour in that I’d try.

What could be the harm, I thought. I’ve got some critical pieces to write for other publications this weekend, so I’ll go off the grid today and do them tomorrow.

That was the extent of my plan. Now I’ll try to make that plan a strategy: go off the grid occasionally to de-clutter.

Spoken like a true addict: I can quit anytime. Really.

But I’ll try because I know it helped. I read a piece on Slate last week on how to write faster, and I don’t remember a damn thing about it.

What I do remember is writing super fast today when I wasn’t distracted.

I also remember the power of a child’s in-the-moment memory.

This is the most important lesson an adult can learn from a child … or from his wife, as it were.