Digital Interruptions

I can’t stand interruptions when I am in the “zone”.

It’s something that I think most of us feel — nothings more annoying than a beeping phone mid-world-changing-thought. It can shatter and ruin everything that you are thinking about, forcing you to start fresh.

This past weekend I went hiking with my wife and a couple very close friends. We went to Shi Shi Beach which is just south of the most northwesterly portion of Washington State. We took off right after work on Thursday night and drove for a little over an hour and a half to our first camp site.

I only took my iPhone with me — no cameras, iPad, or computer. Thursday night before we started the camp fire I changed my voice mail message to tell my day job people they needed to call someone else for help and then my phone went into Airplane mode. 1 My iPhone stayed in Airplane mode until Saturday afternoon when we hiked back out — even then not getting cell phone reception until close to 3p that day.

I tell you this as a setup for this thought: during that entire period of time I never felt ‘interrupted’ about anything that I was doing. I sat and thought while staring at the ocean with no interruptions. I built a camp fire with no interruptions.

In fact I don’t think a single person in our group ever felt interrupted once that trip — save the moment when some crows stole some of our food.

Digital interruptions happen because we let them happen.

My phone rings because my phone is on and I have told people that it is OK to call me. My email lights up because I gave out the email address and have Sparrow open. Notifications and alerts happen because I don’t turn them off.

But we can all stop interruptions — we just need the willpower to stop them.

All in all this trip reminded me of the quiet time in the morning between 5:30a and 6:15a when I feel like I am the only person awake. I am now turning off every possible notification that I can with every chance I get.

Life is much better without these digital interruptions.

  1. There wasn’t going to be cell reception soon enough anyway.
Originally posted for members on: August 2, 2011
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