An experiment in unplugging

This weekend I experimented with unplugging from the internet almost entirely. I literally unplugged my cable modem and kept my phone off except for a handful of times to check for voice messages in case anyone called (it was those moments when I happened to check email as well that make the disconnect only “almost entirely”). I pulled the plug Saturday late morning and didn’t plug back in until this morning (Monday). One of the lessons learned was how little time it takes to catch up on email, Facebook and even my RSS feeds after a couple of day. Maybe 10 minutes. To take in all of the pertinent information and communication that I might need after being offline for almost 48 hours. And how much time, if I had been online, would have I have spent looking to see if there was anything new or interesting? And if there wasn’t how likely might I be to then look at any number of other websites or Youtube? I would have spent at least several hours just dicking around because I sat down to check email or Facebook. Several hours for 10-15 minutes worth of processing effort.

Now, I know this. I knew this before. And I don’t have to face hundreds of emails a day like some people. Still the demonstration helped clarify just how little time I actually need to spend online. I wasn’t superproductive this weekend, it didn’t turn me into Super Grad Student, but I did get a number of my comps questions drafted and re-read Jill Dolan’s Feminist Spectator as Critic and I watched a movie (the original The Wicker Man) and read a big chunk of David Brin’s new novel Existence and took a lovely, long bath with a glass of wine and all in all had a decent weekend. It was a bit lonely and I probably could have done better at seeking out some company. Also, I could have/should have gone for a walk or done something outside or played guitar or composed some music or half a dozen other things but the experience was a positive one and I will definitely be repeating it. If not every weekend, at least regularly.