Confession. I went on a photography retreat and I didn’t bring a laptop, Lightroom, Photoshop or any of the usual gear a photographer should bring on shoots and especially into a learning environment when your teacher specifically says BRING YOUR LAPTOP.
I remember packing to leave with my laptop ready to go and I intended to place it in my bag, but then I looked at it and instantly felt super stressed and a bit uncomfortable, my gut told me it would hold my creativity back. I remembered it was listed in our “things to bring” so our teacher and fellow students could look at our work each morning. Yet I still felt like I needed my journey to be without the machine that I’ve become so dependent on each day.
Can you believe I walked away to grab my shoes, looked right at my laptop, and without even thinking I walked away and drove to the airport? I didn’t make a real decision to leave it, I just sorta flaked and started thinking about other things. In a way, my subconscious was giving the laptop the bird, like #FUlaptop, I’m outta here.
When I had to tell my teacher Dietlind Wolf, one of the top stylists and creative visual story tellers in the world that I forgot my laptop, I was so embarrassed. You know when your cheeks go red? I could feel the heat in them as I spoke. I felt like it wasn’t even day one and I had failed my assignment. I didn’t want to let down my teacher or make her feel as though I wasn’t there to learn, just the opposite. But I also felt like having a laptop wasn’t going to help me dig in and really immerse myself in the materials and exercises she had planned for us.
Dietlind’s reaction wasn’t one of panic or irritation. Thankfully. Quite the opposite, she was encouraging and gently explained that this was the way it needed to be, for whatever reason, and that we would find a work around.
And she was right. And we did find a work around which I will explain in a post tomorrow so stay tuned… It was so great easy!
- FACEBOOK. I only logged onto Facebook once or maybe twice a day to post something quickly and then I bolted. I didn’t linger. I avoided the negativity and rants that I usually come across each day. Plus, the Facebook app on the phone isn’t as tempting to click around and end up someplace else. You can just post and run and be done with it.
- WHATSAPP. I checked my phone to see if my husband had left any messages about our little boy. But even that, I exercised great discipline. I only had brief Whatsapp conversations with 2 people. Not the usual 30 or more in the span of a week.
- BLOG. All blog posts that went up on decor8 were prepared in WordPress and scheduled in advance. Didn’t need my laptop to publish those…
- DAILY NEWS. I read the NYTimes app at night after dinner. Also, I have the app set to give me a quick alert on my phone in case of world catastrophe. The app lets me know breaking news that I would NEED to know. But other than that, I didn’t spend my mornings scanning the news as I usually do. No one needs to know about all of the shit going on in the world every second of the day. It’s true you guys. We don’t need to be so informed, my god. And to read all of this first thing in the morning from bed, well, it’s a terrible way to begin your day because rarely what makes the news is positive.
- PINTEREST. Didn’t bother with my Pinterest. Why? I wasn’t there to be inspired by others, I was there to be inspired and guided by my inner voice.
- INSTAGRAM. I love traveling and sharing with Instagram, it doesn’t stress me out. You can be selfish. You can simply post and go. You don’t feel the need or pressure to read, share, comment or even see other people’s photos if you don’t want to.
- EMAIL. I didn’t check them. Period. If someone needed me they’d have to wait because I was there to put myself first and I was okay with that. I’m not doing a job that requires hostage negotiation or world peace. Few of us are so important that we need to be connected to everyone, everyday, every moment. It’s hard for the ego to absorb that truth sometimes. We reason we are too important to log off. But it’s total BS! The world, your career, none of it will fall apart if you don’t read your email for a few days, even a week. Plus I have an amazing assistant, if it’s big enough news she will get in touch with me anyway. Before I left, I told everyone that I was working on a project with that I’d be offline so I felt confident that I wasn’t leaving anyone hanging anyway.
I hope these 7 ideas will help those of you with upcoming summer vacays to log off and enjoy the time away. YOU CAN DO IT. And you don’t have to go cold turkey. Just be super selective and choose to connect in ways that don’t stress you out. Sometimes we have to stop and realize that our joy and inspiration is often right inside of us or in a moment, we don’t need Pinterest, the internet or anything else to find it or feel it. We just need to log off and tap in.