Unplugging Sparks Creativity

written by Mikaela Cowles on March 21, 2013 in Creativity with no comments

unpluggingI have a confession – I am easily addicted to the web. I get hooked on checking my e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter feed. I want to see the latest ESPN news update. There is always a scrabble game to play, an Instagram photo to post, and something to pin. It’s never ending.

Here’s the problem, and it’s a two fold one – the best creativity is sparked by real world experiences and the strongest relationships are made face-to-face. These two things feed off one another. They make you a better, sharper worker.

Am I a huge advocate for the web? Yes. Do I think relationships can be built using Social Media? Definitely. However, the best things in life leave the web. They are not found on our computers, tablets, or smart phones. They are personal and hands on.

What do I mean by this? Take my food blog for example, Baguette Taste – Wonder Bread Budget. I’m connected with a fantastic group of bloggers. We share recipes, kibitz about grocery prices, and shout about the newest restaurants. But the end goal isn’t just writing notes back and forth. It’s making the recipes, eating the food, and sharing it with another person.

I also blog for Kenmore Air. I talk about the crazy fun places they fly, and the fantastic people who work there. The stories people have shared with me about flying are exciting and touching. But again, the end goal isn’t just story telling. It’s action. It’s getting people flying again.

Why do people, including me, get so attached to being plugged in? I could give any number of excuses. The bottom line is, we need to find time to unplug. In a recent Forbes article titled “14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends,” Laura Vanderkam, author of What Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, said:

You need to hit Monday ready to go. To do that, you need weekends that rejuvenate you, rather than exhaust or disappoint you. Cross-training makes you a better athlete, and likewise, exercise, volunteer work, spiritual activities, and hands-on parenting make you a better worker than if you just worked all the time.

As an athlete her analogy hit home with me. But, it’s also more than that. I’ve found lately I’m too attached to my phone. On weekends, it’s like an extension of me. I feel almost naked without it. Being so attached limits my creativity. It keeps me from operating at my full potential. So, I have selected times to unplug. I’ve started small with hour-long stretches on Saturdays. These are times when I put my phone on silent and turn off my computer. (Sorry if you’ve tried to get in touch.)

Are you addicted to the web? Do you ever unplug? How are you cross training your mind?

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