Should I unplug now or later?

Social media has permeated every facet of my life. I stay connected with friends that I haven’t seen since high school or early college days (Facebook). I keep my writing skills sharp with this blog. I throw out fun witticisms to my friends while watching ballgames (Twitter) and network to find my next full-time employment (this blog and LinkedIn). So let’s see how to combine Social Media and Getting a Life!

In my current capacity as a social media intern, I even use a little bit of all that to perform my job. Yep, there isn’t one facet of my life that social media doesn’t have a place.

Except the bathroom.

You read that right. The bathroom. I don’t take my laptop into the stall. I don’t carry my cell phone (in fact, I don’t have internet on my cell phone at all) to the shower. And I certainly don’t have a PC hooked-up next to the toilet.

And that got me to thinking. (Uh, not that kind of thinking) Unplugging.

Strange as it may sound, getting completely away from technology for a few minutes, hours, even days, can be fantastic. According to some studies, it can even be healthy (apparently, social media can warp our brains even when you’re just trying to get a friend’s website support towards success).

I wrote just the other day in my Bull Durham beliefs that if you try and keep up with every new, shiny tool that comes down the pike, it will end with you curled up in the fetal position on the floor in a puddle of your own drool. I still believe that. It can also lead to any one of the seven disorders listed in the article I just linked.

So here’s my simple solution: Get A Life!

Take stock of what is around you. If you find that the majority of those you consider “friends”, you have never met because you only talk to them through Facebook, you might need an intervention.

If you begin to notice that you’re thinking in phrases that add up to 140 characters or less, you might want to shoot the Twitter bird for a while (and no that does not involve your middle finger).

Go outside and get some fresh air, especially on a beautiful day. Try leaving the iPhone or Samsung at home while you go to the gym (exercise is a beautiful thing!). Purposely power down all your technology and make a date to talk to a human being over coffee at Starbucks.

Or you could just go “old school”: Read a book. Yes, they still publish those archaic things, and no you are not to read it on your Kindle.

For me, it’s spending time with my daughter. I figure I only have about a nanosecond left before she starts figuring out what social media is, and doing it better than me, so I better act now. I also started to realize that Project and Product Management are two totally different things, so I’ll take some time to get all my thoughts in order before moving on to any next project!

Whatever it is you do, just make a concerted effort to unplug yourself for a decent period of time each day.

We all need that balance in our lives. And also, maybe talk (and especially: listen) to our trusted doctors a bit more…