We live in curious times. It’s called the “Age of Information, but in another light, it can be called the Age of Distraction. While humanity has never been free of distraction – never have the distractions been so voluminous, so overwhelming, so intense, so persistent as they are now. In this media-drenched, multitasking, always-on age, many of us have forgotten how to unplug and immerse ourselves completely in the moment. We have forgotten how to slow down. Not surprisingly, this fast-forward culture is taking a toll on everything from our diet and health to our work and our personal lives.
Being connected to everything has disconnected us from ourselves and the preciousness of this present moment.
― L.M. Browning
More and more, we are connected, we are up to our necks in the stream of information, we are in the crossfire of the battle for our attention, and we are engaged in a harrying blur of multitasking activity. When we’re working, we have distractions coming from every direction. In front of us is the computer, with email notifications and other notifications of all kinds. Then there’s the addicting lure of the browser, which contains not only an endless amount of reading material that can be a black hole into which we never escape, but unlimited opportunity for shopping, for chatting with other people, for gossip and news and so much more. All the while, several new emails have come in, waiting for a quick response. Several programs are open at once, each of them with tasks to complete. Several people would like to chat, dividing our attention even further.
We’ve come into this Age without being aware that it was happening, or realizing its consequences. Sure, we knew that the Internet was proliferating, and we were excited about that. We knew that mobile devices were becoming more and more ubiquitous, and maybe some people harrumphed and others welcomed the connectivity. But while the opportunities offered by this online world are a good thing, the constant distractions, the increasingly urgent pull on our attention, the stress of multitasking at an ever-finer granular level, the erosion of our free time and our ability to live with a modicum of peace … perhaps we didn’t realize how much this would change our lives. Maybe some did. With so many things asking for (or simply in need of) our attention, it’s time we paid attention to this.
The Eternal Quest For Balance
Everyone seems to be writing about, talking about, concerned about, dreaming about, or in an eternal search of that elusive “work-life balance” phenomenon. Everyone agrees that it’s important for all the right reasons. Everyone’s seeking to unplug for a few hours, a few days, maybe even longer. But rarely does it happen or last. Everyone seems to fail.
Now step back and think for a moment – who do you know that has really (I mean really) gone the extra mile to make it happen? When was the last time you went an entire day without checking email or Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn or any other social media channel? And if you did, was “even just a glance” really enough to get by? What did you miss? How much time did it take to get back on track? Too long, you say? What did you learn or accomplish? Will you do it again, and if so, for how long next time? Or is it simply easier to go with the flow and settle for “status quo?”
Whenever we look around the world, we see smart leaders – in politics, in business, in media – making terrible decisions. What they’re lacking is not IQ, but wisdom. Which is no surprise; it has never been harder to tap into our inner wisdom, because in order to do so, we have to disconnect from all our omnipresent devices – our gadgets, our screens, our social media – and reconnect with ourselves.
― Arianna Huffington, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
Time For A Digital Sabbatical?
Sabbatical or a sabbatical (from Latin: sabbaticus, from Greek: sabbatikos (σαββατικός), from Hebrew: shabbat (שבת) (i.e., Sabbath), literally a “ceasing”) is a rest from work or a break, often lasting from two months to a year. The concept of sabbatical has a source in shmita, described in several places in the Bible. For example, in Leviticus 25, there is a commandment to desist from working the fields during the seventh year. Strictly speaking, this means a sabbatical would last one year.
What is a digital sabbatical? It’s taking time off and disconnecting from the internet and its apps—online browsing, email, and social media. The word sabbatical is associated with taking a long leave of absence to rest or explore. This used to be the case in the physical world but the time has come to extend it to our virtual world as well. And what might we hope to accomplish?
✅ A mind cleanse. We can use time away from the online world to become more mindful of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
✅ Reclaiming our time. Taking a break will restore our sense of time, instead of it slipping away from us when online.
✅ Breaking our online dependency. Being away and not relying on the internet will allow us to stop feeding the urge to be connected.
✅ Creating space to do what matters. Instead of wandering online without a purpose and nothing to show for it, we can spend time doing something of value to you.
✅ Facing the fear of disconnecting. Taking a break will make us challenge the fear of missing out or being left behind in the virtual world.
It’s About Time That We “Walk The Talk”
We’ve truly been blessed by a remarkable team, each of whom has been operating at “full-throttle” since launch of BIZCATALYST 360° almost five years ago. As Editor-in-Chief, I’ve got a bottomless bucket full of reasonable and rational justifications as to why the concept of and rationale for a “sabbatical” simply doesn’t apply to me or us. And why it simply wouldn’t be practical or possible to step back, unplug and grab a dose of that “balance” elixir.
But as they say in Great Britain, “rubbish” to all that. The time has come to step up and literally “pull the plug” for the good of our entire BC360° Team. No, not for just a few hours, a few days, a few weeks or as extreme as an entire year – but for precisely three glorious months. Call it the BC360° “disruption sabbatical.” Call it three months void of being online and instantly accessible– at home, at the office, in the car, over the holidays, during vacations, etc. etc. Months during which our collective “digital disconnect” will be intentionally replaced with a “personal reconnect.” Months focused on renewal, recharging, rethinking, rebuilding, relaxing. Months reading, listening, learning, appreciating and reconnecting with ourselves and those important to us. Yup – Three glorious months, commencing December 15th, 2017. YES, our Site will still be up and running. YES, our 15,000 plus Article Archives will continue to be accessible. But NO to NEW publishing, NO to eMail responses, NO to anything compromising our sabbatical – as we individually and collectively pursue our genuine quest for “more with less.”
The Phoenix Rises
Publishing will resume on or about April 1st, 2018 – following which we promise to share our “journal of discovery” as we reconnected with ourselves – perhaps as inspiration for others to follow our lead. While we’re gone, we can’t possibly thank you enough for your support, your patience and your understanding. And if you are one of our many Featured Contributors, please keep your thought leadership submissions coming – once our Sabbatical begins, we’ll simply archive everything, ready for release as soon as we’re back! Meanwhile, we hope you will join us for a day, a week, a month or for however long you too can “unplug” and perhaps discover your “more with less.”
Why So Much Advance Notice?
Simply a matter of respect for our incredibly loyal audience and indeed, our extraordinary group of talented Columnists & Featured Contributors. While we may be away for a while, we recognize that any success we’ve had over the past five years has purely been a result of these folks whom we simply can’t thank enough. We want you all to know it’s not “good-bye” but simply “so-long” as we take some time to reconnect and recharge – and indeed, recommit to delivering the very best Insights, Intelligence and Inspiration following our return!