In light of a flurry of studies about the perils of Internet Addiction Disorder, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I would unplug for a day or two and see what happened. I would disconnect from all things online for one workday and one weekend day. The results were so encouraging, that the following weekend I left the computer off and the iPod Touch docked. Electing to be offline for four of 14 days taught me a number of lessons.
First off, multi-recipient emails about any issue can be resolved quite nicely without my input. Secondly, no one cares if I respond to their emails within a day or two. Three, not being aware of Lindsay Lohan’s latest debacle has no effect on my life whatsoever.
In terms of workday productivity, I gained at least an hour a day by not responding to emails the minute they announced their arrival in my inbox. By not checking facts online I was able to claw back another hour, as I handily avoided falling into the wormhole that is the Internet. I figure the time I gained by simply using my computer as a word processor was more than two hours. Also, the absence of the annoying email “ding” allowed me to keep on task without having my concentration broken.
Unplugging on a Saturday yielded equally impressive results. I managed to read an entire issue of The New Yorker, visit with friends and go on a great pole walk. In fact, the day was so enjoyable I decided to extend the no-’Net policy for the entirety of the following weekend. Again, my leisure pursuits easily replaced the hours spent of automatic Internet browsing. Now I am seriously thinking of shutting all of it down on Friday afternoons and committing to disconnection until Monday mornings.
One of the reasons I embarked on this endeavour was to see if boredom did indeed spark creativity. While I was never actually bored, I think the absence of intellectual clutter had an impact on what I thought about. As I went about my unplugged days, snippets of story ideas or lines of prose would pop into my head. What was interesting to me was how easily and organically these creative blips appeared. In any event, I’m curious to see what will happen if I continue to give ideas the space to express themselves. Is the lesson here “unplug to connect?” Anecdotal evidence would say so.
Speaking of connections, it was amazing to see more than 150 Pemberton Valley citizens, including all of the Village of Pemberton (VOP) councillors and Chief Lucinda Phillips of the Lil’wat Nation, at a meeting Monday (March 18) to learn about the effect of a community power project on Pemberton Creek. The VOP’s move to issue a Request For Expression of Interest (RFEI) sparked a lot of concern among the community’s environmentally-minded citizens. Did this RFEI mean an IPP was moving forward? If so, what could be done to ensure that it was stopped? Were there benefits to Pemberton other than short-term construction jobs? The ad hoc Friends of Pemberton Creek brought in people who could answer some of these questions.
Gwen Barlee of Western Canada Wilderness Committee and Dr. Craig Orr of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society spoke of both the environmental and economic impact of IPPs. I personally learned a lot. My only remaining question is where was Mayor Jordan Sturdy? As mayor or MLA, IPPs will be an issue he will be dealing with. It would have been nice for him to experience, first-hand, how his constituents felt about this issue.