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Why I'm Leaving My Laptop At Home

I'm getting ready to leave for an overnight trip to a conference. I'll have free high speed Internet in my room, so my first thought was "Oh good, I'll bring my laptop." But then I started to wonder if this was such a good idea. Could I maybe gain more by cutting off my reliance on easy Internet access? So here are a few reasons why I'm NOT taking my laptop with me this time:

  • I'm an introvert and frankly, I hate networking. Yes, I'm trying to get better with it as it's critical to function in the world, but I still hate it. Easy Internet access gives me an excuse to go back to my room instead of talking with people, a temptation I definitely don't need. Eventually I'll go back to recharge my batteries, but no point in having one more thing to draw me away.
  • For the past several weeks I've been immersed in writing a major grant. I've been in that mode where you keep saying "I'll think about that AFTER the grant goes in." Well now it has and I need to think. Having the Web at my fingertips is an invitation to see what others have to say, rather than getting my own thoughts in order. At least for an evening, it will give me some time to reflect.
  • Related to this, I feel like I have a ton of thoughts and ideas flowing through my brain. As a respite from grant activities, I've still been trying to keep up with my feed reader and there's been a lot of good stuff going through the blogosphere. Unfortunately, I feel like I've had little time to really digest  it, so my writing and thinking are suffering. I feel like it's a good idea to step back and just get some things down on paper so I can see where I am and where I want to go.
  • And finally, Clear Blogging has been tucked in my bag for over a month and I've only had time to skim a few chapters. It would be nice to have some actual reading time.

Of course, I may arrive at the hotel and wonder why I left my laptop at home. But I doubt it. It feels like the right thing to do this time.


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Good for you, Michele. I'll second (and third) everything you've written here.

Reflection is far too undervalued in our culture, especially on the internet. I wonder if our constant connection online is part of the shortcuts-vs-the-journey problem you posted about last week.

Yup, yup, sometimes you've just got to unplug. A little time for introspection can be a tremendous gift you give yourself.

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