Guest post by writer (and client!) Charles Moss
Author Michael Harris just released his book, “The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection” about our constant struggle with distractions thanks, in large part, to the Internet. In his book, he talks about the “straddle generation,” which is the group of people who remember life before the Internet and who are consumed by it now. I am a member of that generation. And I feel lucky for it. Here’s why: Though I love the Internet, the way it offers a seemingly endless amount of information and countless ways to keep up with family and friends, I’ve recently discovered that I miss the time when I wasn’t constantly bombarded with social media notifications, email, the nagging need to get online constantly. I just didn’t know it until I was advised by Melissa to turn off all of my smart phone notifications.
And let me tell you, it’s something I’m glad I did.
At first, I was hesitant. But she urged me to go for it, try it for a few weeks. If I didn’t like it, I could turn them all back on. The first week, I didn’t really think much of it. But after a couple of weeks, I began to notice subtle differences. I was less stressed. I wasn’t as anxious. I was able to focus more on my work and my family. It was nice. And if I did get distracted, it was by my own choosing. I no longer felt enslaved to my phone.
For me, I know my limitations. I know I’m easily distractible. As a writer, that’s not a good thing. The Internet, smart phones, technology are all great things. They prove to be powerful tools that make my job and my life easier. But when it comes down to typing words on paper, which takes a whole lot of focus, I have to force myself to shut those things out. And the lack of notifications on my phone has made a world of difference. Now, for all of that email clutter…
Charles Moss is a freelance writer based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He’s written for The Atlantic, Slate, Paste Magazine, The Oxford American, re:form and Tablet Magazine. Read more of his writing and hey, don’t be shy. Friend him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.