Venture capitalists are starting to discover, or at least starting to write about, digital Sabbaths. Brad Feld, a managing director at Foundry Group, has a thoughtful piece a couple weeks ago (thanks, Anthony, for pointing it out to me), and now Excel Capital's Jeremy Shure weighs in on his digital Sabbath.*
The constant involvement with managing email and developing a presence in social media undoubtedly makes me disconnected and disjointed from present conversations (i.e: bad dinner company!).
Most of the post revolves around Shure's anxiety about the effect of digital Sabbaths on his social media presence-- not at all an uncommon worry, I discovered in interviews-- but he concludes, "I've decided I needed to draw that line in the sand and disconnect at certain times in order to remain connected."
In another post, Shure explains the practice:
[O]n Friday night at 6pm I turn off my iPhone and put it on my desk, where it remains in the "off" position until Sunday morning. During this time, I commit myself to disconnecting from any email, social media, web browsing, and any other technological "distraction."
After the second week, he reflects,
after I powered back on, it was quickly clear that I didn't "miss anything" of significance while being unplugged, and the benefits of being present and far outweighed any illusory costs.
Indeed, the second time around,
I found myself looking forward to Friday night to power down. And when I powered back Sunday morning, I felt refreshed and grateful that I had experienced an incredible calmness and serenity from being disconnected.
He concludes in the first post,
Disconnecting for certain periods allows me to recharge my own batteries (mentally and physically) so that I can be clear-headed when with my family and friends, and also for the majority of my time when I am engaged in my business. Most importantly, unplugging helps me realize that we all do this dance once...one time...and it's critical that we spend as much time as possible dancing with the people that make our lives relevant, regardless of what's happening in the world of 140 characters.
This is all very consist with what I found in my book, and what my (I can't help but think of them as "my") digital Sabbatarians told me. The anxiety about missing out, the tug of habit, the boredom, all are part of the first Sabbath; it's the second or third week that you start to feel the benefits. So keep at it.
* As if I know any of these people or what these companies do. Of course I have no idea.