I don't know if it's these last days of January  - a month I always find strangely unsettling in an almost imperceptible way, but I've had a strong urge to unplug. 

I did for a week - no phone, internet, television (radio slipped in), and the still moments were astounding. Work, kids, friends and holidays all revolved on, but things felt closer to their core. Or perhaps I was more attentive to the little and big things going on in the everyday.

If we're really honest with ourselves, how often to you find yourself reaching for your phone, tablet or keypad? How much - being really honest - is absolutely necessary in that exact moment?

How much of it is reflex, boredom, a need to feel connected, to feel necessary,or even to feel?

When we're connected all the time, I wonder if creativity can be sapped by inadvertently thinking about the outcomes of those creative efforts almost before, or as, we're making them.

How many people read the blog posts, re-tweet the tweets, comment on the instagram pictures or like the page, isn't a reflection on the value of the creation, thought or idea. But are we shaped by these things - consciously or not?

I've been thinking about these things a lot. Leaving my phone untouched or at home when I can. Trying to unplug.

Dreaming about those camping holidays as a kid. Two weeks bush camping by the beach where the thought of even a land-line phone was ridiculous. Now it's getting harder to find a place that's not flush with wi-fi.

This morning I listened to a discussion on ABC Radio National that fed right into these thoughts. 

Michael Harris was talking about the insidious effect on his life of always being connected. He made some great points, and you can listen to it here if you're keen. 

One of them was about how this constant connection means there's a "loss of lack". No time to be bored waiting for the bus or in a queue because everyone's checking their phones.

That somehow "The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. There’s no true “free time” when you carry a smartphone. Today’s rarest commodity is the chance to be alone with your own thoughts."

I hear you Michael. Or rather, sometimes I don't. Because the chatter and noise of phones, emails, social media and always being connected can get tiring. Distracting. Kind of draining on the juices.

So I'm reclaiming the old school free time and bringing back the right to be bored. It's almost a dirty word where being so busy is a badge worn with pride. Those daydreaming silences are where the magic happens. Ideas pop up, you catch your child's smile, or, you just feel your mind unwind and loosen into the unfettered space. 

I'll let you know how it goes. 

How about you? Any thoughts or attempts at the digital detox?


  1. Great post and food for thought. I find just when I'm getting into a creative flow, I'll get a notification on my phone and want to check it, and then end up embroiled in responding to something, or the house phone will ring with some PPI nonsense. I think reclaiming the quiet, the day-dreamy times and letting our minds wander while in a queue or on a train are essential to the human spirit so we must not allow these moments to be eroded by technology but make a conscious effort. Thanks for reminding me of this. I might 'unplug' this weekend! x

    1. Good on you Rebecca! It can be mega distracting and a bit exhausting sometimes too.

  2. Such wise and true words Pia. I was only thinking about this yesterday on the bus - once upon a time, pre smart phone, I would gaze around, people and scenery watching, and generally observing the world go by. I shamefully realised that I was on facebook the entire journey home and was horrified that I had become one of "those" people, engrossed in the little oblong square in front of their eyes, oblivious to everything else. My best ideas come to me when I am out, walking my dog, headphone and technology free. Here's to bringing back the boredom ! Thanks for the reminder.

  3. It's addictive - there's neuroscience backing this up so you/me/we are not alone on this! Bring back some boredom, I think it could be healthy and almost an endangered species these days.

  4. Great post pia! I find January the same and instinctively unplugged this year. I must have just needed it and man what a restful time I have had. I am going to keep it up now I have a bit more perspective on what is really necessary. X

  5. Good on you and camping sounds like an awesome restful fix too!

  6. God, YES! I relate to this so much. I feel better when I disconnect - I have played with this and found it to be true. And yet, this blogging thing is good too, I like it a lot, and it demands that connection. I am still yet to settle on a good balance. But, having read this post I think you have inspired me - sparked me to an idea. A disconnected day (or two!) per week. Maybe disconnected on weekends, when my kids are home and there is so much opportunity for (real!) connection while disconnected. This is a wonderful thought. Thanks for inspiring me to have it! x

  7. I know, it's a bit of a double-edged sword and too much is digital overload I think....it kind of creeps up on you. Great idea! The day (or two) could be really energising x



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