I laughed out load reading this post over at Jon Acuff’s ‘Stuff Christians Like’. Growing up in church–youth group, college ministry, work in urban missions, seminary, a stint as a youth pastor–there’s not much on that blog that I can’t identify with. I’ve either seen it or I’ve done it.
I digress. The post I referred to above is about taking digital fasts–how dramatically serious folks are when they take a few days or a week or a month away from Twitter or Facebook or whatever online/techie nook they’re addicted to.
In keeping with stuff Christians like, Lent provides a perfect opportunity to take on that kind of fast. I thought about it. I ran it by a Twitter friend or two who I know have taken those types of fasts. But I backed out and opted for a dietary fast with my wife.
The fast with my wife has been good, but I can’t shake that initial impulse on the digital fast.
And the main reason is focus. I’m not a wholesale addict, but I feel a pull to simplify across the board. The easiest way to do that is to strip away a few unnecessary things and see how that helps with focus in more important areas. Social media is a wonderful outlet and great in so many ways, but it can be a little distracting. Even a quick 15 second check can rob focus.
Blogging has become a great outlet for me also. I like to write and this is a great way for me to try to get better at it, hopefully sharing a thing or two that is helpful or interesting along the way.
But alas, I sense that I need to draw back on the online activity. So yes, this is step 2 in Acuff’s post: write a blog post about taking a digital fast.
My main reason for this is that I feel the need to focus on a select number of items: my health, my marriage, my kids, my finances.
My Health: I threw my back out on Saturday. Although I won’t be able to exercise much because of that, the incident reminded me that building physical fitness into my days is a priority. Spiritual health also fits in here. Checking Google stats distracts from morning prayer and morning runs.
My Marriage: My wife is actually very encouraging about my writing. She knows that as much as I love insurance sales, writing gets my juices flowing. That said, I think a few weeks away from the computer and the smart phone can’t be bad for our evenings together.
My Kids: The idea here is not to be focused on not using the technology, but on expending the creative energy on ideas for the kids. And I’m sure they won’t mind my not checking my Twitter feed from the iPhone.
My Finances: I like to keep this piece private, but I have a few tasks that I need to wrap myself around in this area. Taxes must be done. We need to shore up our budget. Perhaps we could use some of the time to focus on ideas for creating and managing our money.
Those are the reasons. While it won’t be a complete digital fast (let’s call it a Daniel fast for the online era), I will pare down.
No Twitter or Facebook: Facebook will be kind of easy. I don’t even know how to use it anymore. Twitter is another story. I get the absolute best information from the folks I follow. I find links to some wonderful blogs. Unless I get a direct business contact that requires some initial social media communication, I will steer clear.
No Blogging: I have this blog and www.nonprofitinsurance.wordpress.com. As much as the second one is technically a work blog, I am going to concentrate on activities directly related to my four selected areas. While learning more of the technical side of blogging and developing my focus is on the task list this year, it’ll be on the back burner for a bit.
No Blog Reading: I’ve come to love scanning my Google Reader (if you’ve not learned how to use RSS, you should). From moms and dads to marketing and sales pros to nonprofit gurus to great recipe and home ideas, I shall abstain.
Until Easter: I’m going to ride out this little experiment through the rest of the Lenten season. I’ll be back after Easter.
Here’s hoping that folks don’t unfollow or unsubscribe in the meantime. I promise that when I come back, I won’t over-spiritualize or dramaticize this little experiment. Of course, if I actually learn something, I’ll share.