A couple of weeks ago I spent a week in western Massachusetts in a house way up in the hills. I love this particular corner of the world for several reasons. Hiking. Road riding. Mountain biking. Rafting. Kayaking. Swimming. Whoopie pies. Most of all, I love the quiet. The loudest noise in the daytime is tractors and the loudest at night is the owls.
There is no cell service here. Nothing. No wireless. Zero bars. My trusty iPhone is basically useless beyond Cut the Rope and Doodle Jump. Just a brick that tells time.
At first this is disconcerting. I reflexively look to see what’s happening in my digital world and it’s The Twilight Zone. No Facebook. No Twitter. No emails. No texts. No phone calls. It no longer exists.
Once the shock wears off, I start to enjoy the freedom. I read books. I hang out with my kids and build forts. We all sit down to dinner and talk about frogs and butterflies. It’s amazing how quickly I don’t care about new followers on Instagram or checking in on Foursquare. The biggest gift is the ability to focus and think. It is something so precious that we often neglect in our quest to vanquish our to-do lists.
Once I was back on the grid it was a scramble to catch up and plug back in, but the lesson I learned is the beauty of disconnecting, even if just for a moment.
At the recent #140 Conference in New York City, many of the speakers said the same thing. Put down the technology. Go outside. Make friends. Build something. Do stuff. Love someone. It will all be here when you get back. And they are right.
How do you disconnect and find time in your day to think? I would love to hear your thoughts.