Me unplugged

Monday, June 17, 2013 Permalink

I spent the last few weeks struggling with a paid (ghost blog) post I had to write. I’m sure others can relate to the feeling – where something seemingly simple becomes hugely challenging. Of course the more I overanalysed it the more I fumbled around.

Those who follow me on Twitter would have read endless tweets over recent weeks about the post in question. Again, I have no idea why it was so problematic.

Although I also had a job application due last Friday it should all have been a breeze. Very doable. But it wasn’t.

I’ve submitted a few applications for low-level admin work around the area. In fact, I’ve put in quite a few and had no luck as yet. It becomes a bit demoralising after a while – particularly as many of the jobs are at significantly lower levels than I’ve ever previously worked in government. I joked in my other blog about ‘dumbing down’ my applications, but I don’t think it’s really that – just a mismatch of skills.

But, just when frustration threatens, something positive floats by. Just today I have a lovely call from the local manager of a government department who’d received an application I submitted. “You’d be working for people significantly less qualified than you are,” she told me. I reassured her that I was fine with that. As it happens the job in question isn’t an option for me, but she’s hoping something comes up in their office, she said, as she was impressed by my CV. It was nice to get a call like that… amidst so little success.

But, the application I submitted last week was kinda like the work I was doing in my former life. It would actually be a good fit – though it wasn’t what I thought I wanted.

I was hoping to move away from my previous government (project management / Executive Officer) work completely and do something mindless. I told someone today that it was nice not to have the monitor the media in case the shit hits the fan in my department/agency and I needed to be on top of it – requesting briefing materials and responses for the Minister/Chairman and so forth.

This job would be a bit more like that. But… perhaps I need the challenge. It would only be 2-3 days a week so is really perfect. But I won’t hold my breath as I’m tired of disappointment.

That’s not to say I’m feeling low. I’m just feeling tired. It occurs to me I spend all day, every day at my computer, only getting up to throw myself onto my bed, go for a walk or go to Zumba. Occasionally I’ll meet a friend. I guess that’s the challenge of working for oneself (or not working as the case may be)… it’s hard to remember that breaks are allowed.

I’ve had a weird ‘no TV during daytime’ rule since I finished work. That means, I DO NOT turn the TV on until evening. When I worked I used to often spend weekends inhaling TV series released on DVD. I miss that. I miss the ‘permitted’ downtime.

God, I cannot believe that I’m complaining about the lack of downtime when I don’t actually work and have endless spare hours in my day. It’s strange. It’s inexplicable.

So – I’m having a break. I’m about to spend 2 or 3 days offline. I’ll monitor my emails but I’m heading to my mother’s and not planning on taking my laptop with me. I’m hoping to spend two whole days watching DVDs and just hanging out without worrying how many hits or comments my blogs have received, or how many unread posts are accumulating in my Google Reader or what I need to share on Facebook or Twitter.

I know it’ll barely be noticed by the outside world, but hopefully it’ll be just what I need.

Do you detox from technology? Do you believe in a digital detox?


  • Kek
    June 17, 2013

    I’ve had a break from the online world a couple of times – not usually my choice, but rather an “assignment” I had to do. I found it challenging. LOL

    I think if I was feeling stressed about deadlines, as you have been, then a short break would be far more welcome. Enjoy your downtime. 🙂

    • Debbish
      June 18, 2013

      Thanks Kerryn… I hope I do and I hope I come back all refreshed and enthusiastic.

  • MIZ
    June 17, 2013

    YES YES YES and unlike many friends I have—when I do I do NOT ATTEMPT TO CATCH UP WHEN BACK.
    I just move forward.

    • Debbish
      June 18, 2013

      Hmmm… yes Miz. I cannot imagine what my Google Reader will be like after 2-3 days (definitely in the hundreds). It may be an opportune time to transfer over to something else (for my blog reading) before Reader disappears anyway!

  • Sasha
    June 18, 2013

    I’ve been known to try and detox, with mixed results. It has also occurred to me that I should try little changes (hm – like in other areas of mental & physical health?), like maybe NOT keeping my phone next to the bed, where I have a nasty tendency to check my email before shutting out the light… and then checking it again when I can’t sleep.

    And the job hunt sounds exhausting. Hang in there.

    • Debbish
      June 18, 2013

      I do the same with email Sasha. And I check when I get up to go to the loo during the night… AND it’s not even as if I get important things sent to me at the moment. It’s comments on my blogs or the like which can really wait a few hours!


  • Satu
    June 18, 2013

    Happy digital detox, Deb! 🙂

    I don’t find it weird at all to complain about the lack of downtime if you work at home/for yourself. You could work all day if you let yourself…and you can end up with cabin fever if you don’t go out! 🙂

    And I’m not surprised about the difficulty of finding a job that is “beneath” you. :-)Employers have a hard time grasping the idea that someone would like to work in some other area / level than the person has worked before (I wonder how anyone actually changes careers). Try searching for a job when you’re a former researcher!

    I’ll detox after I finish my current client project, which hopefully happens before Midsummer.

    • Debbish
      June 18, 2013

      Yes Satu I think I suffered some cabin fever last week. I suspect the other frustrating factor for me is that I’m still struggling to pitch for work on the business side of things – either writing opportunities or other social media type stuff. I don’t know why I find it so hard – but it feels like asking for favours or selling myself in some way. I had a very brief stint in the private sector in 2002 and struggled a bit then too. I’d previously worked for an agency who was a major funding body for my organisation and it was kinda expected that we’d keep our networks active to learn about new projects and so forth. I’ve written before in my other blog about not liking to ask for favours and so think it’s the same thing. (Even though you’re essentially offering a service for their money!)


  • Char
    June 18, 2013

    Working for myself I find that I do a lot of the same things. If I have some down time I never put on the television during the day. Or read a novel. Because I work from home my mentality is that I should be working. Even on the weekends the only time I put on the TV is in the evenings. But when I’m in my workroom the TV is on all the time because it’s keeping me company while I work. How screwed up is that?

    • Debbish
      June 21, 2013

      So true! Even at my mother’s over the past few days I said to her on a number of occasions that I felt bad because I wasn’t doing ‘anything’. I also struggled to feel like I ‘deserved’ a break!

  • Richard
    June 19, 2013

    Hi Deb,
    Yeah I think a bit of time out is exactly what you need. Sometimes when you are in a bad head space you just can’t push forward, and a few days off will just bring you back refreshed.
    I also work for myself, and I have noticed how much more productive I have been since moving to a coworking space. it just have a desk in a shared office. It means when you are doing work you are out of the house, and then when you are home you can really switch off. Before that I could never switch off at home and was always checking emails and updates. But now I can really switch off after work. I only pay around$75 per week for my desk so it really isn’t that much for my sanity! Anyway it might be a good idea for you.

    • Debbish
      June 21, 2013

      Yes indeed Richard. I’m actually looking for part-time work and I’m hoping (if I can get something 2ish days a week) then I’ll have a better balance in my life. Not sure I can justify the cost of the deskspace rental quite yet! Although a blogging buddy of mine swears by taking her laptop to the library and cafes etc. Perhaps if I know I’ll have day after day at home all week I should do that!

  • Liz@LastChanceTraining
    June 20, 2013

    I think ‘cave time’ is fantastic, as you know!


    • Debbish
      June 21, 2013

      Yes indeedy!

  • Stacey B.
    July 1, 2013

    I was so happy to come across this post because I have vowed to have a summer “digital detox” after reading the book “The Facebook Diet” by author Gemini Adams ( This book helped me to realize that I am spending WAY too much time checking my phone, getting bored and running to my PC, and not enough time out there in the world enjoying and taking in my surroundings! The book features 50 hilarious cartoons that illustrate the many weird and obsessive behaviors that people exhibit as a result of Facebook . The book made me laugh but it also really opened my eyes to my dependency and obsession with social media. Gemini Adams does give some very helpful advice and makes “unplugging” a little bit easier to face. I think this is a fast-paced, funny and informative book that everyone should read. Good luck on your detox! Perhaps this book will encourage you to do more!

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