The Importance of Downtime

If you didn’t notice, my site has been quiet for the last week. That’s because, for the last nine days, I was on vacation in Cape Breton on Canada’s east coast (yes, the picture below is me a few days ago).

Dave Fleet relaxing, looking out at the sunsetWhile I was away, I unplugged completely – no Internet; no BlackBerry; not even a phone signal for most of the trip. In the past I’ve stayed in the loop while I’ve been away, but not this time.

It felt great. This surprised me a little – I expected to get a little twitchy after a while – but it never happened, and I feel all the better for having disconnected.

What did I miss?

From what I can tell, a few things happened while I was away:

My thoughts on this were perfectly summed-up by Matt Singley:

“I wonder what non-geeks are talking about today? Not Friendfeed.”

It’s easy to get caught-up in the daily excitement over developments in social media. I do it all the time. It’s easy to feel like the minutiae within this world are all that’s important. That’s part of the reason I needed to disconnect for a while. There’s much more going on in the world outside the social media field and it’s easy to miss out on that if you aren’t careful.

I’ve been extremely busy over the last year or so and will continue to be that way. To keep this pace up, I’m going to make a concerted effort to balance work and social media (which overlap somewhat for me) with other activities. That will mean more running (which has been non-existent recently), more time with friends (ditto) and more downtime… and slightly less blogging (you may have already noticed that change) and online time.

How about you – how do you keep things manageable? How do you unplug?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.