Thursday, June 27, 2013

The power of “off”


For those that are regular readers of this blog you’ll know that I have been working hard to reduce the about of on site technology I have. Recently, I migrated this blog to Blogger and finally switched off the server that I used to host it. That now meant that I had no systems that needed to be constantly on. That prompted me to take the initiative and turn everything off when I wasn’t using it.
So unless I need my desktop, laptop or storage server they remain off. The consequence of that? I have cut my power bill by about one third which is fantastic! I am now getting into the habit of powering off everything else that might consume power to see whether that may any additional difference. I somehow doubt it as most of power was being consumed by running PC’s.
This immediate saving in power consumption got me thinking about what else could/should be “turned off”?
One of things that I note many people never turn off is their mobile. I understand that some people need to be constantly available but is that REALLY you? A while back when we never had mobiles people seemed to survive. Yet, where ever I go these days I see people with a mobile glued to their ear having long conversations. Don’t get me started about the dangers of using a mobile over extended periods of time but do REALLY need to use it that much?
I know people that complain about poor sleep quality yet they leave their mobiles on all night and even answer emails ‘because they can’t sleep’. How about you try turning the mobile OFF and see whether you sleep better? You are the master of the mobile not the other way around! Use technology to improve not hinder your life I say.
Another challenge that many people seem to face these days is actually ‘turning off’ from technology and turning onto people. Sure, every one is on Facebook, Twitter, and so on but are these REAL relationships? Are these who would do you a favour? Hmmm…probably not. Why? Because even though they converse with you on social media they still don’t really ‘know’ you. Remember, something like 80% of human communication is non-verbal via things such as body language. By only chatting over emails and social media you are going to miss a lot of this.
Now tell me how many times you have met with someone or a group and everyone seems to spend all their time look at their phones? A tad rude? Again, they again can’t ‘switch off’. The technology is controlling them, some may even say they are addicted.
Perhaps the most pure form of ‘switching off’ is simply to mediate. When was the last time you found somewhere quiet and just sat? Did nothing? Allowed your thoughts to come and go? No TV, no Internet, no mobile, etc. In today’s always on, always busy world I think you’d struggle to find anyone who does this regularly. However, don’t think that being constantly ‘on’ doesn’t come at a price. To your health, your relationships and even you hip pocket (someone’s paying for all those mobile calls!)
Perhaps the message for this post is that if you are feeling burnt out, stressed and tired when was the last time that you just ‘turned off’? If you haven’t I’d suggest you at least give it a try over a two week period and see if you are not the better for it. Just like the money I saved when I turned off my desktops, I’m sure you’ll save a huge amount of energy and more importantly it will provide focus for what is really most important in your life.