The author Pico Iyer wrote a piece in The New York Times over a year ago that I have not been able to get out of my mind.
It was called The Joy of Quiet.
But joy is not the only benefit – it is increase productivity and a happier life.
Iyer wrote, “The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug”.
In 2007 Intel mandated 4 hours of quiet time every Tuesday morning for 300 engineers and managers. No phone. No email. Most of those participating recommended that it be extended to others.
The average office worker, by the way, gets only three minutes of uninterrupted time according to researchers.
The average American teen sends 75 text messages a day.
And the average American spends at least eight and a half hours in front of some type of screen each day.
We’ve got no time to think, enjoy, interact or recharge.
Iyer suggests an “Internet Sabbath” every weekend – no online connections from Friday night until Sunday morning. Okay, that’s not going to work for me.
There’s yoga, meditation and tai chi.
Long walks on weekends without a cell phone.
Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows about how much time we spend online, suggests that people who spend time in rural settings “exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become calmer and sharper”.
Even simply becoming aware that a lack of quiet is a problem empowers us to find a workable personal solution.
“When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself” – Marshall McLuhan
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