Monday, December 10, 2007

Turn Off, Tune Out

So a funny thing happened on my vacation: I fell out of love, just a little bit, with my Blackberry. And that's a good thing. A very good thing.

Here's the deal - in my normal life, I'm almost always connected and reachable. My agent needs me while I'm at the gym? No sweat. My husband wants to track me down while walking the dog? I'll pick up. I suspect that I don't need to elaborate because many of you relate. On one hand, this is wonderful; in fact, in the earlier days of my career, editors marveled about how, regardless of hour, I could respond to just about any and all emails. But on the other hand, it means that I am always available, like a 24/7 convenience store, and the truth is, which I didn't realize until my vacation, that I don't like being on call.

Here's what happened: while in Anguilla, I made the decision to leave my Blackberry in the room all day. Which meant that I checked it when I woke up and checked it again at night, and other than that, emails could clog it up to no end, and I wouldn't touch it. I thought that maybe I'd feel anxious, wondering about what I was missing, wondering if the world were imploding without me, but guess what? What I found instead was serenity. (The beach and the waves at my back door probably helped too.) But in all seriousness, I enjoyed myself SO MUCH MORE because I wasn't connected or reachable. In fact, my husband toted his Blackberry around all day, and beyond the fact that I found this incredibly annoying and made more than 5000 passive-aggresive remarks about it, eventually I moved past my irritation at him and just felt sorry for him. I mean, here we were, in arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth, and he couldn't let go of work! And yes, I'd be dishonest if I didn't say that I recognized a small part of myself in that.

When I returned home, I logged on to more than 300 emails. And it turns out that about 3 of them were semi-urgent. The rest were easily satisfied by my out-of-office notification, and I answered them at my leisure throughout the day and this past weekend. The world still spun on. The industry didn't collapse in my absence. Really, no one missed me too much. And that's a good thing. In fact, it was so good that these past few days, when I've taken the dog out for a walk or headed to the gym, I left the Blackberry at home. I need those few moments to myself, and everyone else can wait.

So tell me, are you addicted to your Blackberry? Or have you found strategies to put it down just like I have?


Maddy said...

Ahh shame. I'm sure lots of people missed you. Don't have a blackberry myself, I've heard it gives you a worty thumb or maybe a hurty one, I'm not sure which.
Best wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Eileen said...

Oh sistah I feel your pain. I get antsy when I am out of reach and I'm one of those people who checks my email all day. I've recently discovered that (gasp) if I turned the darn thing off what I could get done went way up an that really it wasn't that much of an emergency. It's not like I'm holding the nuclear codes or anything. People could wait to reach me.

Amie Stuart said...

Don't have a crackberry....barely just got a cell phone(and didn't want one!)!! I do have to admit, that getting the #1 son one HAS proven convenient (and he's good about being reachable).