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5 reasons you should detach yourself from your digital world

I have recently given in to temptation and bought the new iPhone 3G which I have been admiring from a distance for quite a while. The main reason for wanting the phone was the ability to sync my mac calendars and email allowing me to continually be connected to the digital world (although the virtual pint is reason enough!). 

I didn’t think it was too much of a problem checking and responding to emails at the dinner table or surfing the net at our local pub. However, on a recent holiday I found myself sneaking off to reply to emails and generally plug myself into my digital world at every opportunity. It wasn’t that my clients were demanding answers, they all knew we were on holiday and didn’t expect their emails to be responded too. But I felt compelled to plug in and ensure my virtual life was still there.

I’ve started to wonder if my resistance to unplug from my digital world would have a negative effect our business rather than a positive one? Here are 5 reasons you may want to think about detaching yourself from your digital world:

1. 24/7 Communication – A good thing right?!

24/7 communication sounds like a great selling point to your clients (and not too difficult to maintain as I found out), but would clients build an expectation that we are constantly contactable with no excuses. Would they then have a shock when we didn’t respond to an email within 48 hours?

2. Creativity in a Virtual World

Am I locking myself too much into my digital world? Inspiration comes from everywhere however if I am unable to see beyond my virtual surroundings will that start to effect my creativity?

3. Time Waster

Even with the benefits of 3G, logging on away from home takes time and connections are often quite slow. I would love to add up all the time I have spent waiting for a web page to download or email attachment to come through (I think I would be quite shocked at the results).

4. Time Out 

It’s important to get away from clients, deadlines and computers. Taking time out means you can return to a project with a new enthusiasm and a clear head. However, with my new iphone, I not only take my mobile but my entire digital world everywhere I go, resulting in a feeling that all I do is work.

5. Social Outcast

Friends and family have had no problems so far with me whipping out my iphone when an email comes through, but I think if someone did the same to me I would be quite shocked and find them quite rude, so am I soon to become a social outcast? Will I be the geek that nobody wants to go out with? Always talking about work (or the new lightsaber app that I have just downloaded – try it – it’s cool!)

Now don’t get me wrong, the functionality and features of the iPhone are truly excellent and there has been a few ‘lifesaver’ moments already, but should I really be worrying about whether a blog article has been posted or an email sent outside of work hours? Or has graphic design finally become a 24/7 industry?

How do you feel about your Digital world? Are you able to detach and embrace reality, or do you prefer a virtual world?

Posted by Steve

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Posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 at 7:45 pm
Posted In Freelancing | Tags: ,

7 Responses to “5 reasons you should detach yourself from your digital world”

  • Sander says:

    I just bought a 3G myself. For me it works both ways, now I sit less behind my computer and check information with my iPhone an spending more time with my family.

    I agree with you that being connected to the internet 24/7 is a bad thing. There is something bad happening with children. Recently a friend brought a 6 year old which only would come along if we had a internet connection. She played with the computer all afternoon. Nothing to worry at the time, but later on I realized that for children this is a bad development.

    I don’t think graphic design has become 24/7 I believe we all have gone global (nuts) :)

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, needs to shut down the computer even more.

  • Steve says:

    Hi Sander,

    Thanks for your comment. Children needing to be constantly connected is definitely a bad thing. It is interesting that I too am spending less time in front of the computer as I can check info from anywhere. I had thought this was a bad thing but you are right that it saves coming to the office, starting up the computer and then checking email etc. Maybe this will save me time in the long run?


  • Oh crumbs, where to start…

    This thing is only just beginning! Technologies such as the iPhone will bring about more social changes in the next 20 years than we’ve witnessed in the last 200 years. Most of it will be good, some of it will be extremely bad – isn’t that always the way?

    Personally, my biggest problems isn’t that I’m always tethered to the digital world, it’s that I never seem to get around to using this stuff for augmenting my real world, I spent far too long looking for the next cool iPhone app and not enough time using the ones I’ve already bought!

    I’m getting better an managed this stuff though. Give it another couple of years and I think that us early adopters will be truly harnessing all this new found power… much like the early days of the Mac I guess.

  • Steve says:

    Hi James,

    You really can lose a lot of time playing with apps! As I said in the post, the Virtual Pint and the Lightsaber apps are possibly the coolest but most pointless things I have seen in a long time. However, I have probably shown then to every single person I have spoken to since buying the iPhone!

    Thanks for your comment


  • Orison Swett Marden said, “Work, love, and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being.” It is hard to shut down the computer, ignore the iphone, and let yourself relax, but it is vital to your life’s happiness and if you allow yourself time to play (free of work) your work will only improve!

  • Matt says:

    Great post Steve. I just recently got a black berry, and am in a similar boat.

    “Hello, can you pay attention to me??” Is what has become the norm for me around the dinner table when we are out to eat. Damn you ADD…

  • Steve says:


    What a great comment – totally agree and thanks for the wisdom!


    It’s hard to put the thing down, but I am learning to resist the urge. Thanks for your comment.



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