How to Disconnect from a Hyper-Connected World

Posted by Paladin on December 09, 2008

I joined Women in Communications this year, a great organization that inspired me to become part of the membership committee.

This organization is for women communications professionals in the New York Metropolitan area; a not-for-profit association founded in 1929. They have about 1,500 members, and represent a variety of industries in print, broadcast, and electronic communications.

Women in Communications held an event at Doubletree Guest Suites in Times Square; the subject was “How to Disconnect in a Hyper-Connected World.”

The event was moderated by Gail Blanke, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lifedesigns, LLC.

There were five women on the panel:

1) Jen Chung, Executive Editor, Gothamist.com

2) Marcia Cole, Founder and Editorial Director, AMBERmag.com

3) Laurel Touby, Founder and Senior Vice President, mediabistro.com

4) Amy Introcaso-Davis, Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Development, Oxygen Media

5) Janine Sarna-Jones, Certified Professional Organizer, Founder and President of Organize Me, Inc.

The panel of hyper-connected women shared their insights on how they balance demanding careers, family and social life. Two panelists recommended occasionally disconnecting altogether. One panelist shared how she was able to take time off from her busy schedule to spend uninterrupted time with her mother. She let everyone know in advance that she would be unreachable for a period of time and felt the world is not going to end if she doesn’t return emails.
Laurel Touby from Mediabistro sets time aside by not scheduling appointments on Fridays, making herself available only when a “real” emergency occurs; and even then, she might not receive any emergency calls.

But all the panelists appreciate being able to connect when they need to. They felt the blackberry gives them freedom and being disconnected makes them nervous.

Amy Introcaso-Davis from Oxygen Media enjoys the flexibility of working remote which allows her to work out of town while visiting family.

The women offered a few tips for some who find it more difficult to balance their lifestyles as we become more dependent upon these high tech gadgets:

  • Don’t feel you have to reply to e-mails or return phone calls immediately
  • Put yourself first and schedule some alone time each day
  • Do something for yourself during lunch hour
  • Establish a network of friends and meet with them regularly
  • Set boundaries and stick to them

In this crazy hyper-connected world in which we live we need to figure out what works best for ourselves. We all connect and/or disconnect differently. What works best for you?

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