Regular Smooth Harold readers and those closest to me already know I take a hardline to offline balance. With exception to the rare 2-3 emergencies per year, I don’t open email or answer work-related calls on nights, weekends, or during mini vacations. I killed my phone’s data plan three years ago, and I quit Facebook two years ago.
Furthermore, unless its for leisure, educational, shopping or correspondence reasons, I try to stay away from my iPhone, Chromebook, iPad, desktop or any other internet-connected device as much as possible during down time. The strategy has made me a better person, worker, husband, father, recreationist, adventurer, brother, and friend. I’ve even managed to increase my income, despite working fewer hours.
That said, I’m not the only one to have found offline balance. In fact, my approach would largely only work for similar extroverts with similar compulsion disorders. Simply put, there are other ways to find offline balance.
One way is moderate technology use during personal time. My brother and brother-in-law are case studies of this approach. Despite some very lofty professional responsibilities and liabilities on their shoulders, they are able to break away to spend time with family and friends. Their work required them to be away for a few minutes here and an hour or two there during our family reunion last month. But they were respectful enough to leave the room to do so. And they lived in the moment the rest of the time, without showing that fidgetiness and nervous phone checking that all digital narcissists demonstrate.
It was good to see a working example of that and I plan on underscoring that point in my book. Although I’m incapable of jumping in and out of my varying roles with as much ease, others are. The most important thing is to prioritize, then set limits and boundaries to help you keep them.
See also: How I use technology: 2012 edition