Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Unplugged Report

I felt a little guilty turning on my computer, but Oh MAN, does it feel good to be back! I've been slowly working through the inbox: lots of Twitter emails, newsletters, sale promotions and bills; very few personal emails!

So, the burning question: Was it worth it?

First, my goals for going offline were 1) stop compulsively checking my email, 2) give more attention to my household's needs, 3) develop some much needed healthy habits.

Day 1 I wanted to check my email 9 times! Every time I walked in my room (which houses the computer) I wanted to turn on the computer. Every time the baby was asleep I wanted to get on the computer. Every time my toddler was contentedly playing on her own, I wanted to check my email. But, I harnessed all that energy and cleaned off my messy messy desk! Surprisingly, it stayed about this clean the whole two weeks, until I did taxes and now there are papers that need to be filed again!

Before I went offline I tried REALLY hard to get all my posts done and ready to publish. But, it didn't happen. So Sunday night I actually cheated and got on the computer to get Monday's post ready. I was strict with myself though and didn't check my email. So Monday was the first day I spent entirely offline. I focused on laundry. Mounds and mounds of laundry! I got all the laundry washed and folded. It usually takes about three days to get all the clean clothes folded so I was really excited. Oh, and Elli rolled over for the first time, which I caught on the video camera, and didn't get to blog about it!

Now, I admit, I'm a procrastinator. I still needed one more day to get the second week's posts completely finished and ready to go up. So Tuesday I spent about three hours on the computer. I was so focused on working quickly. Brent had the girls all morning and I was amazed at how much I accomplished. As a treat, I checked my email! The experience reminded me of this quote:

"In my 20s I was worried about what everyone said about me. In my 30s I learned not to care. In my 40s I realized no one was talking about me to begin with."

I had a bunch of Twitter emails, but nothing personal. Either everyone was giving me space since I was offline OR no one cared! In that moment I realized some things about myself: I work harder than I realized at connecting and communicating with people and I was compulsively checking my email for no good reason! While cheating is BAD, in this case it made the rest of my time offline a lot easier. Every time I wanted to get online or check my email I reminded myself that I wasn't missing anything.

I started to evaluate the nature of my need to be online. One need is to be connected, to my family and friends, to online friends, to the community of moms whose blogs I love to read and which so inspire me. Another need is to escape my physical surroundings in the virtual world of the Internet. Another need is to blog and provide a resource for moms to play and sing with their children. The last need I discovered is to take care of bills and finances. I learned that the hard way when I called Brent at work so he could pay the car payment and the visa bill! Again with the procrastinating! I totally forgot to prepare for that.

Back to my goals. I have managed to get the housework under control. I've developed a pretty good pattern for getting things done each day. I also started exercising. I'm doing yoga with Bob from The Biggest Loser. I'm still working on making this a regular part of my day. But so far the results have been fantastic! I'm not so ache-y and my pants even fit a little better. Another healthy habit I wanted to develop is for my mental and spiritual health. I have renewed my commitment to read and study the scriptures daily and I already have more patience with myself and the little ones. I also feel a lot more peace about the busy and strenuous demands on my time and energy and the demands on Brent and how that affects our precious time together as a family.

So was it worth it? YES! I am ready (halfway through February) to start, or rather continue, 2009 in a positive, healthy way.

I'm moving forward and finding balance between my online world and my offline life. I find joy in both places. Each fills a need and is an integral part of making me whole and complete. I will stop escaping from my life by staring mindlessly at an unchanging inbox and I will start focusing on the essentials. What will you do in 2009?

Also, check back tomorrow for a giveaway of a cute little something I made with all that time I had from not being lost in front of the computer!


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