Unplug: 5 Reasons To Put Away Your Screens And Connect With Humans
We are always behind screens (you're behind one now), but what happens when you put down your TV-show-streaming, multi-tabbed-out, software-overloaded, file-and-email-crazed laptop? Do you survive? No sh*t, Sherlock — and it's awesome.
Here are the reasons why:
1. Sh*t gets done efficiently.
People seem to feel productive as long as they spend X hours chained to a screen, even if they are just staring at it.
They get a tremendous sense of satisfaction when they send off their emails with one click, clack away on their keyboards writing up briefs and decks, or search, read and type over and over again.
But what would actually happen if they spoke IRL to the people they’d otherwise email back and forth with? What if they actively experienced life?
What if they tried trial and error using their own bare hands instead of Google?
There's a reason Timothy Ferriss, author of "The 4-Hour Workweek," is doing more than most "wantrepreneurs" with solid start-up business plans.
Laptops can be an illusion.
We've come to a point where we use screens to feel close to endless possibilities, to feel efficient without asking, "what are we really doing?" often enough.
When does stimulation — a big forte of content that laptops can serve us up via video and more — fall short of actually doing?
At some point, balancing time online and offline becomes the bare minimum to get sh*t done.
Get up, and take Nike's advice: Just do it.
2. You get this "f*ck yeah!" feeling.
When we think of busy people, we think of them with laptops, not building something with their bare hands.
It’s a real shame because the adrenaline and feeling of accomplishment from creating is actually epic.
Many of us "screen people" are proud to find, type and paste, and when we are done with that, we like to delegate the few things that are manual because we’ll — you guessed it — have more time on our screens.
Little do we know how f*cking great it is to actually hammer something out IRL.
Bear with me if you are not an artist — dear artists, you already know what I'm talking about — because this is for you.
This is not about picking up a paintbrush, but it is about picking up something — an object of some sort — and doing something with it.
If you still can't relate, think about when you were a kid and you made a sandcastle, papier-mâché, a treehouse or a cake.
I bet the kid looked at whatever "that" was and showed it off to everyone nearby with "Look at what I made" pride.
Start from scratch. Hold "it" up proudly. Say, or at least think, “F*ck yeah, I made that.”
3. Your heart gets a workout.
Surely you realize sitting all day isn't good for you, but do you realize just how much time you spend sitting and then do the math?
You are lying down to sleep, sitting to eat, sitting in transportation and sitting at work.
When you do have some time to go crazy and do something that doesn't involve gluing your butt cheeks to a flat surface, what do you do?
Grab your personal laptop and do more sitting because God forbid you miss the new episodes of X, Y and Z TV shows.
I'm trying out a new thing where I just don’t watch TV for a while — a pseudo TV detox of sorts — including TV shows on my computer.
This opens up the possibility to a world of "insteads." Instead, I'm hitting the gym more often and kicking my heart rate up a notch, taking my dog on more walks (which helps him do less sitting, too!), cooking in the kitchen and commuting to places on a bike.
Unglue yourself from screens and chairs; get up, and go.
4. Time magically appears in your life.
Chances are, you are doing useless things on your computer, like watching a TV show you only kind of like, Googling sh*t you don't need or half-assing a project by thinking about it instead of doing it.
This may be a little redundant because it really is the wrapper around what happens when you shut down your laptop.
You get time: time to be healthy, time to discover a new sense of achievement, time to make new connections and time to be efficient.
Find the freedom of time.
5. You connect to real humans.
Remember people? The ones with faces you can touch? No, not the ones you scroll or swipe through online.
The ones you can have live conversations with in real-time and in person?
It's all nice and rosy to have these online people (the ones you're not interested in but are happy to receive ego-boosting, solitude-defying messages from), but we are meant to physically be with each other.
On a Maslow-resonating level, we literally need human contact before being able to achieve "self-actualization."
The most connected person on the Internet couldn’t escape loneliness without real friendships.
Don't get me wrong; social media used to maintain existing friendships that time and distance challenged.
But what if you were sitting next to your future soul mate, business partner, travel buddy, best friend or just the best life-pivoting conversation of your life, and you didn't even get to know these people because you weren't looking up?
The Beatles said, "Had it been another day, I might have looked the other way."
The thing is, though, with all of these screens, aren't we kind of always looking away?
Look up. Make eye contact. Talk, listen and connect.