Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Value of Stepping Away



As much as I love technology, I think it's important to step away from it every once in a while -especially for those of us in the IT field. We're under constant assault from email, blogs, podcasts, text messages, Twitter, Facebook, TV, and radio. This can amount to an information overload that over the years can really start to break you down.

For those of us in IT, it's worse. Since our livelihood (and hopefully our passion) is entwined with constant communication and data processing, it can seem like we can never escape. In fact, just admitting that you need an escape is seen as a sign of weakness in the geek culture; but it's necessary. I'm not talking about throwing in the towel and getting a job as a lumberjack or construction worker; instead I'm calling for a more subtle and temporary escape. A weekend here, a week there -trust me, the world can do without us and we can do without the world.

I just took a much-needed break from technology with a couple of coworkers and friends who I will call Sasquatch (yes, he really is that hairy) and Brains since I didn't ask if I could use their real names. We packed into a car with some camping gear and headed out to the woods for the weekend.

A solemn pact was made.
  • No cell phones
  • No email
  • No blogs or social media
  • No radio, video games, or other electronic distractions
  • No technology discussions
  • And above all NO WORK
As technology-junkies and semi-workaholics, what ever would we do?

We hiked, watched wild life, told jokes, played pranks on each other, discussed politics and religion around a campfire, and generally had a great time. At no point did we wonder what was going on in the outside world, let alone what the Twitterverse was up to.

It was amazing.

I wish it had been longer and we may have to schedule a week-long trip next time, but as short as the escape was, we all returned to work on Monday refreshed and ready to dive back into our passion for IT.

Let's hear it for the occasional escape. It's the best cure for burnout ever invented.

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