I arrived at my apartment last night, flipped on the TV, unpacked my laptop, and checked my phone. All before I had even taken my sweater off. Much to my dismay, the TV screen was blank, the Internet wouldn’t connect, and we all know what happens when you’re an iPhone owner. I started to panic. My heart began to race and I was instantly overcome by frustration. “WHY??? WHY AREN’T YOU WORKING??? You have ONE job in life, and it’s to WORK and you CAN’T??” Then I took a deep breath. And smiled.
Let’s face it. The majority of Americans are addicted to technology. They’re constantly connected online, 3G, web, phone, PDA, etc. etc. etc. And as much as we love technology, often sometimes it fails. If you’re anything like me, when this happens, your heart stops, your blood pressure rises, you feel…suddenly…lost.
Unfortunately, as we rely on it, we must understand that technology by nature is unreliable.
Tonight, my cable went out. With that, my wireless Internet went out. This is, probably, the tenth time that’s happened in the last year. In case you’re having trouble with math, that’s almost once a month. This doesn’t even begin to cover the amount of dropped calls, lost signal, and bad connections I’ve had on my cell phone.
I even snicker at the commercials that claim cell phone coverage for “over 97% of America.” Pfft.
So, when you’re experiencing serious (and unexpected) downtime, what do you do?
Catch up on writing: focus and the words will come
It’s truly amazing what you can accomplish without the distractions of the Internet. Your emails aren’t rolling in, tweets aren’t being counted, blogs aren’t being updated (to your knowledge, at least), you are completely disconnected. Instead of writing one sentence and then checking your @replies, you can actually get an entire blog post written! Losing those distractions allows you to focus on one task. Productivity at its finest.
Dive into a good book: get lost in a story
Believe it or not, there’s a big difference between reading a printed copy of a book and a posting on a website. There’s nothing quite like flipping the pages of a book without being interrupted with the dings and bongs of the Internet or your cell phone. I used to get lost in books – lose myself in the characters and plot and forget, for a couple hours, where I was.
Take a walk without your phone: breathe in your surroundings
Getting outside and reigniting your environmental passion is completely rewarding. Sometimes, we lose touch with our surroundings. It’s important to reinstate that appreciation and not let yourself get overwhelmed by virtual worlds. The world you live in is beautiful!
Go to the gym: work it out
There’s no better time to get your workout on when you literally can’t be working/checking e-mail/tweeting/updating something. Take advantage of this lapse in technology and do something other than sit in front of your computer. The gym is calling.
Take a bath: find your inner zen
For me, taking a bath is the definition of unwinding. Turn off the lights, add some bath salts, light some candles and you’re set for ultimate relaxation.
Believe it or not, life existed before technology. Yes, it may seem foreign and like it existed in waaaaaaaaaay long ago, but it did. And guess what? People survived. You can, too. I know I like to take advantage of all the downtime I can get.