Why we need to unplug (occasionally)

I don’t have children, but I imagine it’s a lot like having an iPhone.

I know when it needs feeding, it makes a lot of noise, and I’m shit scared of dropping it. And lets face it, we’ve all experienced that gut churning dread when we reach into our pocket only to find a couple of scrunched up receipts and a Kit-Kat wrapper.

‘Where’s my phone!? Oh God. Oh God… Oh yeah… there it is.’

Don’t get me wrong; the meteoric advancements in technological innovation we have all collectively born witness too are genuinely remarkable. Owning a smartphone or laptop isn’t just an expensive burden. The level of interconnectivity we now have at the ends of our fingertips is extraordinary. And the tools that harness that power have facilitated dramatic social change, mass human mobilisation, and have made the world better for it (mostly). The digitalisation of information has made it so shareable that we are, by and large, probably the most well informed generation to have lived. 

But as of late, writing has been a tediously slow and arduous task. I have too regularly found myself aimlessly wondering that weird part of YouTube you reach after hours of mindlessly link-clicking. Then when I eventually get my act together and put pen to paper I produce nothing. A doodle of a chicken followed by a formless and dull mass of verbose nonsense. Conventional and drab, redeemed from utter insipidity by infrequent snatches of mildly entertaining turn of phrase. But nevertheless, a cancerous growth of word-tissue hardly redeems the dreadful joviality of the uninteresting topic matter. 

So, why the slump?

Because I’m constantly plugged in.

I’m drawn in by the hazy glow of artificially lit screen like a moth to an incandescent bulb. I am constantly consuming new information, wrestling with new facts, and trying my best to make sense of them and store that information somewhere. And it’s killing my creativity. A majority of our time is easily dividable into two distinct categories—consuming and creating. When we’re constantly consuming creating is displaced. 

Powering down helps equalise that imbalance. 

It gives us a little time to breathe. 

To appreciate our surroundings for what they are, and not just an Instagram post.

It affords us the time to form our own opinions and not just regurgitate those of others.

It allows us some time to be alone with our thoughts.

It creates an environment where creativity can truly flourish.

So just unplug for a little while. You’ll feel better for it.

 

Written by Tomas Coleman, founder of The 25 Mile Supper Club