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Feeling Disconnected Can be a Good Thing




A few days ago  I did something that I have not done in many months.  I disconnected.  What I mean by that is I stopped checking email, looking at twitter, answering the phone and going through my feed reader to read the latest news on the internet. I even managed to leave the house without my cell phone.  Once I got past the brief panic attack I found it liberating.

With all the technology at our disposal it if easy to stay connected to clients, friends and the world all day, every day.  Being connected is nice, in my case it means I am never lonely. There is always someone calling, writing, sending text messages, instant messages or trying to reach me through Skype. It seems to take forever just to get through the email that came in overnight when I start work each morning.

When communication becomes noise

Most of the communication has some value, but disconnecting off also has value.  It gives me time to think and to process the huge amounts of information I sift through each day.  We are bombarded with information from multiple sources.  Some days it is like trying to listen to a radio that is picking up multiple channels at the same time.  There are bits and pieces of information or music but nothing is really coherent, it becomes noise that needs to be filtered out so I can think.

By unplugging I was able to think again.   For many months I have noticed that as soon as I get into the shower I start coming up with ideas of things to do and solutions to problems. It is almost magical the way it works.

Giving it a rest

Unplugging has some value.  The world does not come to an end if I don’t answer a phone call or message right away. I plan on unplugging one day a week every week. My business obligations will not allow me to pick a day and do it the same day each week but I should be able to disconnect once a week.  I worry that if I don’t disconnect I will forget how to think, imagine and create.

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Try it sometime.

Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.



  1. Mariana

    March 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm


  2. Matt Stigliano

    March 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Teresa – I can remember being in a field in the middle of Latvia somewhere…no phone, no internet, no power on the bus to even work offline. All I could do was sit and noodle on my guitar and chat with Latvians. It was a great night. Getting away from the e-mail chain around my neck was rare on tour, but when it happened, I just used it as time to enjoy the people and places around me.

  3. Stacey Harmon

    March 22, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Teresa – The timing of this post is wonderful for me. I was just realizing the value of disconnecting yesterday. I realize that this is what running does for me – it gets me unplugged for an hour or so. I was out on a 6 mile run on Saturday and noted that it was actually refreshing to be without my iPhone and without headphones, and actually having time to let my mind think. I found it to be an immensely creative time – I came up with some great new ideas! I looked at old challenges in a new light. As much value as I get from technology, and social media, I agree with you that there is great value in the off line time. And, your thoughts in your newest post about IRL meetings I concur with as well – on-line has been the conduit for meeting many great new people, but IRL is where the real power is at. Thank you for articulating this perspective. I look forward to seeing you IRL one of these days soon.

  4. teresa boardman

    March 23, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Stacy – I think the biggest value in disconnecting is that it makes me more creative.

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