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Productivity / Business Productivity

In pursuit of precious boredom

When I heard myself say “I’ve deleted that newspaper” I got worried. Should I pull the plug for a bit?

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I’m an Internet and email addict from way back, and online social networking is my new drug of choice.

Have I found it amusing and entertaining? Absolutely. Productive? Absolutely not. Before the Twitterphiles get on my case again, I do recognise that social networking can be a wonderfully effective business tool that connects, informs and edifies.

But not in my hands. Think monkey. Think remote control.

A wedding photo here, a status update from a long lost and not very loved friend there…I lose myself in this hoo-haa for way too long. All this from a woman who has bemoaned her lack of time…more than once.

In response to the commenters on my recent missive, I want to get off, who suggested I take a step back and slow the heck down, I started to wonder whether tuning out of the online world could help.

"This weekend, I’m going to bite the bullet and get offline. No Internet, TV or radio for a whole two days. "

Using delete in the wrong context and saying LOL out loud was the last straw for me. Just as I was facing up to my need to give it all a rest, I read this from philosopher Alain de Botton:

“We have become such experts at being always in touch, informed, connected. Now we must relearn how to be silent, disconnected, alone.”

Count the characters… yes it’s a Tweet! Oh, the irony.

Want more articles like this? Check out the productivity section.

I also read an article (online, of course) about a guy who returned his iPad because it was just too absorbing. It’s a great piece, but here’s my favourite part:

“Being bored is a precious thing, a state of mind we should pursue. Once boredom sets in, our minds begin to wander, looking for something exciting, something interesting to land on. And that’s where creativity arises.”

I’m a big believer in synchronicity and reckon the message is loud and clear. So this weekend, I’m going to bite the bullet and get offline. No Internet, TV or radio for a whole two days.

I’m going to quieten my mind and take a listen. In the meantime, I’m sure to keep hitting refresh compulsively to see how many comments this articles has had, and click through some photos of friends of friends (i.e. strangers).

Have you tried deliberately going cold turkey on the digital drug? How was it?

Also, can I take a big pile of Vanity Fairs into my retreat or is that cheating?

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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