|Unplugging can provide benefits to family life.|
Photo: Maria Adcock
If you’re a blogger, you’re probably managing multiple social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, etc.). These take up a lot of time, but are necessary for a successful website. You can’t really go unplugged too long without messages backing up, and there’s likely no one else to cover for you.
I did the blogger unthinkable -- I unplugged myself from the internet for 8 days. Did not check one email, send out one tweet, or posted one Facebook update.
It helped that I was in the middle of the ocean and didn’t have easy access to the internet.
My husband, 3 year old, and I went on an 8 day cruise out of New York to the Caribbean. It was the first true vacation my husband and I had taken since our daughter was born.
Placed in a totally different environment (i.e. cruise ship), it was easy not to think about pageviews, PR requests, and website rankings. Occasionally I wondered if I was missing a really important email, but then reminded myself that being offline for just over a week wouldn’t be the end of the world.
Going on vacation provided a much needed mental break for all of us. It also made me realize several things:
- After spending so much time with my husband on the cruise, I realized I craved more of this. In our everyday routine, we would put our daughter to bed, and I usually then headed straight to the computer to work until midnight or 1 am. I spent little time with my husband every evening, and thankfully he has understood. But I’ve always wondered how long this could go on without it affecting us. In addition, the late night schedule was exhausting since my daughter tended to wake up with the roosters so there was never any sleeping in. I promised myself to make more of an effort to see my husband in the evenings.
- During the cruise I spent a lot more time playing with my daughter, and it was enjoyable. Usually at home I’m trying to sneak onto the computer to get some work done to relieve the pressure at night -- an often futile attempt given my daughter wanted mama’s attention seemingly all the time. I was guilty of shooing her away and saying, “Give mama just one more minute, mama needs to send out a very important email.” Crying would ensue with her replying, “I don’t want mama to work! Want mama to play with me!” I know in a few years she will not want mama’s attention anymore, so I vowed to spend more time engaging with her now.
In the delicate balance of work and family life, something has to give. I came back home to almost 400 emails (amazes me given I’m only working part time). I neglected viewing friends’ Facebook statuses, attending PR events, and replying to tweets.
I have a choice on what needs to give, and it’s not going to be my family. If that means my pageviews and website rankings fall a bit or I need to decline some freelance assignments, then so be it. My family comes first.