The importance of time offline

Think about how long you spend staring at the screen of a laptop, PC, ipad or smart phone messing around on the internet.

A lot, right?

Social media and the rise of the internet has brought so many benefits to our daily lives but has also led to a complete dependence on computers and devices.

Travel from days long past

If we’re not checking emails or websites for work, we’re reading the latest news online or updating our facebook status.

News, pictures, check-ins, friend requests and that must-read tweet are now available everywhere, for every second of the day, thanks to the power of the latest smartphones.

The latest phones and the iphone in particular let you do almost anything online, no matter where you are in the world.

All that’s great but it can feel like there’s no escape (I blogged about that here).

The downside of this uber-connectivity can be seen in the constant checking of work emails, round the clock social media updates and lines of people streaming down the street staring at tiny black screens.

One thing that’s really struck me about this is the lack of downtime needed to recharge batteries but also the space to think things through.

It seems to me that professionally there’s a real value of taking time out to think. I recently had a full day where the whole team was offline and uncontactable in the wilds of Northumberland. We didn’t even have mobile coverage.

We spent the whole day without the internet, emails, social media or mobile calls and sat round a table actually talking to each other without any distractions. Can you imagine?

We got loads done that day and were able to plan a load of new campaigns, properly analyse our previous work and resolve some long standing issues.

I think in a similar way this could be the way that the traditional media focuses on niche areas in the future.

People do  still have rituals that do not transfer online, like that relaxing coffee with the Sunday paper or a tea break with a glossy magazine.

For me it’s National geographic traveller magazine. I never check their website, don’t follow them on Facebook, read the blogs or connect with other readers online.

Every month I wait for that thick slab of glossy paper to get pushed through my letter box so I can turn off the iphone, take some time out and think back to when I last had the time, money or babysitters to actually travel for real.

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8 thoughts on “The importance of time offline

  1. Great blog Ross. I couldn’t agree more about keeping a bit of the pre digital world. I too subscribe to a number of magazines that I absolutely resist transferring online. There is an actual excitement when they arrive!

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  2. Good advice, thanks Ross. Agree it’s important to tear yourself away from technology once in a while, I’m never giving up my glossy mag addiction!

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  3. Nice one. There’s many a child out there who’s earliest memories of their parents will be of them constantly staring down at a 4″x2″ piece of glass and responding to their every request with “ok, just wait a minute until I’ve done this”…..!

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