Monday, October 11, 2010

(almost) unplugged

media cleanse: day 1
for the first time in i-don't-know-how-long, i did not start my morning by checking my email. i ate breakfast without catching up on my blends [blend (noun): newly popularized slang term for blog friend] or admiring the latest releases at anthro.

and i have to admit it: it feels weird to not know what is lurking in my in-box right now, and i am slightly distressed that i will have to wait a week before reading recaps from those who ran the chicago marathon yesterday (although i already know that both of these ladies rocked it!).

a year ago, i talked a big game about a media diet after seeing this slightly disturbing graphic from wired magazine (9 hours a day!!?).

article available online (of course)

but my media diet wasn't strict or specific enough, or perhaps it just seemed too daunting, since i had no endpoint, and it didn't make much of an impact. inspired by zen habits, a book i am currently reading, and the fact that i realize that i spend WAY too much time staring at my laptop, i have decided to take the media diet one step further. this time, i am attempting the media equivalent of a juice fast: a one-week media cleanse, if you will.

i am not looking to eschew the connected world forever -- after all, i think there are many fantastic things that come out of being connected, sharing ideas, and the like! i have met wonderful people through blogs and i am inspired by many people that i don't know (but maybe feel like i do) on a daily basis.

but there is just something to be said for spending more time on activities that do not involve a screen or a keyboard, and the undeniable truth is that every hour spent online is an hour not spent doing something else. furthermore, while email is a convenient and much more environmentally sound means of communication, i believe it has started to take on a sense of urgency that is completely unnecessary and somewhat intrusive. in this world filled with wireless hotspots and smartphones, it's just all too easy to write an email and expect a response within hours (or minutes!) even if there is nothing emergent about the matters being discussed.

email also has an element of unpredictable reinforcement (like gambling), which renders it powerfully (perhaps dangerously!) addictive. i know i am not alone in that i reflexively check it multiple times a day, even when i've gone to the trouble of turning the 'auto-check' feature off!

so. for all of these reasons, i am going to explore what it would be like to go back in time and be mostly unplugged for the next 7 days. i wrote the rules a few days ago, but to reiterate:

i can blog once daily (whew.), and i can go to websites specifically for the purposes of adding links to my posts

i can use the internet at work, but for work purposes only

the exception is that i will check my personal email twice daily, from work (once mid-day, and once at the end of the day), and may respond to emails at those times if necessary

i will aim to check work email 3 times daily while at work (once in the AM, once mid-day, and once at the end of the day)

and other than those things, i will be unplugged, at least with respect to the internet. implicit in the above rules is that there will be no reading of blogs/websites for fun, no TV (we stream our shows via the internet), and no facebook or twitter. i'm already trying to imagine what a week without glee will be like!

but the very fact that i'm so keyed up about this reinforces to me that it will be important to do it, if only for 7 days. i hope that by leaving all of the above out of my life, i will be able to better define the impact that technology has on how i spend my time, and perhaps make some more lasting changes. of course, i'll let you all know how it goes!

not on page
this weekend was pretty spectacular, as call weekends go. i didn't have to go into the hospital on either day, and i slept interruption-free last night! i will be (virtually) handing the pager off at 8 am today and will not go back on until november 1. it will be a lovely break and i can't wait for all of those weekends without any work duties!

note to self: fellowship = really a pretty nice life.

sunday baking project
since i didn't have too much work to do, i took advantage of the extra time i had on sunday to take on a fall baking project. everywhere i turn, there seem to be pumpkin-flavored things: pumpkin spice lattés, pumpkin bread, pumpkin-scented candles -- it all just got to be too much! i just HAD to make something pumpkin of my own, to fill our apartment with the delicious autumn scent.

simply recipes has yet to let me down, so i turned to baker-blogger extraordinaire elise for a fabulously fall recipe for pumpkin ginger nut muffins.

even though i practically tried to mess these up (i accidentally added nearly double the pumpkin; 1 cup ≉ 1 15-oz can), they turned out just fine. i also used half whole-wheat pastry flour to make these just a bit more wholesome, and added about a cup of oats at the end when i realized my pumpkin mistake, thinking that they would help soak up some of the extra liquid.

the result: tasty, healthy, and totally seasonal muffins.

a sunday afternoon success!


10.10.10 (how sad i'll never get to write that again!)

workout: 5 miles easy (i carried the pager but got no calls this time . . .) in perfect temps; 25 minutes yoga for runners.

real simple chicken: this recipe was true to the magazine's name. so easy (see for yourself!).

theirs may feature a plaid flannel shirt . . .

but only mine features a freshly-baked pumpkin muffin! this is actually josh's plate:

red-current roasted chicken, sautéed collards with golden raisins, and muffin goodness

so far, i am definitely enjoying the real simple recipes.

board prep: on schedule! it really was a productive weekend. T-7 days until the test . . .


  1. Those pumpkin muffins looks simply fab, Sarah! I'm guessing that your "mistake" may actually have improved them--more pumpkin flavor and extra heft from the oats, perhaps?

    L, da

  2. I am certainly one of those people who expects a response quickly when I've sent an email. At my last job, it was expected that if you were at work your email would be open, and you would respond to emails throughout the day. There seems to be no such expectation at my new job because I email people and it takes them ages to get back to me. At least for business emails, I think there needs to be some sort of happy medium.

  3. I love Simply Recipes--just made a chili from that site. Those muffins look great.

  4. Good luck with your unplugged week. I'm looking forward to hearing how it went.

  5. great post. I need to be better about consciously unplugging. Getting an iPhone definitely did NOT help with that!

  6. atilla8:49 PM

    your plate looks better especially with that super looking muffin

  7. clarice: i guess it depends on the job. the truth is that in medicine, because you are in patient rooms all the time, you have a pager for anyone who needs to reach you urgently (and i have that on me at all times). in that setting, email cannot (and should not, in my opinion) be used for communications where an instant response is needed. so checking twice a day and acting on any needed tasks at those times should be sufficient -- that way no more than 4-5 hours ever goes by during a business day with no response.

    teri: and i heard through josh that verizon is finally going to release one! if i succumb, i want to be very careful about how i use it . . .

  8. Unplugged!
    That sounds... Well just terrible.

    And I think that pyramid is upside down. Gaming belongs on the bottom ;)