As a creative development agency based in San Francisco, we are fortunate to be surrounded by the thriving tech scene of the Bay Area. From the Silicon Valley giants of Apple, Google, and Facebook to the plethora of startups springing up every day, there is no lack of digital inspiration. At Sequence, we love the smartphones, wearable devices, and helpful apps that accompany us through our day and inspire us to create delightful experiences for our clients. However, with the constant inundation of technology, I have recently begun to reflect on the need to strike a balance. Sometimes you’ve just got to unplug.
Admittedly, this requires clarification. I’m certainly not suggesting anyone move to a remote cabin in the woods, away from any Internet connection or WiFi signals. In fact, tech writer Paul Miller took a yearlong hiatus from accessing the Internet only to discover that the experience was anything but idyllic. For most of us, technology is essential to our day-to-day existence, so the best we can do is seek out chances to take breaks. Fortunately, there’s a variety of ways to do so!
On March 1st, in celebration of the National Day of Unplugging, Digital Detox hosted Unplug SF, an off-the-grid party that required guests to check their phones and devices at the door. The event drew a massive crowd, highlighting the interest that people have in experiencing moments of life free from social media distractions. But it doesn’t even have to be such a concerted effort. I recently attended Creative Mornings SF, where speaker Jim Ray discussed the joys of cooking, a primitive act deeply rooted in the early stages of humanity. Beyond the financial and health benefits of concocting a meal for oneself, he touted cooking as an awesome opportunity to take a break from sitting in front of a computer or TV to create something with your hands.
Of course, the workplace is one of the hardest places to pry oneself away from a screen, yet even in this environment there are moments we can recharge and refocus. In fact, it can be even more productive to do so. As tempting as it is to grab food and continue to work with my eyes glued to my monitor, it’s a joy to eat lunch in the park across the street on a beautiful day or converse with co-workers around the lunch table. And a mid-afternoon stroll around the block or to the neighborhood coffee shop is a good way to combat the exhaustion that often creeps up around that time of day. Disconnecting from technology also does wonders for creative thinking. Last week, our team worked on the concepting phase of a project and spent full days brainstorming with sharpies and post-its. The break from our computers was refreshing and put us the perfect mental state for generating a vast array of ideas.
Making small efforts to step away from technology in my day-to-day life has been a satisfying change of pace. Hopefully you can discover ways to bring those tech-free moments into your own life.