Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The value of vacations.

When was the last time you were really unplugged?
No phone, no blackberry, no email, no radio. You might turn these things off, you might not be on the phone. Having these distractions around tethers you to the whims of anyone who wants to distract you with a conversation, even if you don't pick up.
They can break your concentration even if nobody calls. Knowing that 'maybe you should call someone' can take your mind off what you're doing.
Every once in a while, it's useful to take a step back from the demands of daily life, and spend some time undisturbed with whatever you need to put your life back in balance.
Maybe you need downtime. Maybe you need excitement or a change of scenery. Maybe you're comfortable in your groove - or was that your rut.
Vacations are an opportunity to rebalance your life. In order to do that you can't be down 'in the weeds' dealing with the day to day distractions. It's a time to look at the big picture issues from a distance.
The reason your best ideas show up in the shower is because you're unplugged. The water keeps the headphones from jamming your ears and more importantly your mind with external things to pay attention to.
It's only when you turn off the inputs to your mind that your mind will be free to connect the dots on things that might not otherwise seem connected.
As companies continue to make cellphones smaller and thinner they won't be able to make them light enough to override the mental burden of being at everyone's fingertips. With a phone in your pocket you can't leave them behind.
Interruptions are the enemy of deep thought. It takes about 15 minutes, give or take, to reload your mental RAM to where you were before.
You might not ever get your good ideas back. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Kahn is a fragment of what the author had composed in his head during a dream. He was interrupted and lost the rest.
Continuous partial attention is another enemy of deep thinking. Your consciousness can't multitask. It can task switch pretty well, but that takes away from your stream of thought. I wonder if anyone texted me.

You probably won't go cold turkey, but build some unplugged time into your vacations and watch where your mind takes you.

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