The Disconnect Challenge: Revisited

Quite a few of my friends are discussing that old familiar feeling of overload and over-connectedness. People I know, and even more I don’t know, have shared they are shutting down their blogs or quitting their blog visits, taking a break from the computer, trying to manage their life and in general just questioning their devotedness to being online versus their time with their husbands, family or with God.

Many of us can relate to the frantic feeling that comes from doing more than we can handle in one day.

“We’ve paid for our speeded-up lives with a loss in the quality of our time. Our chronic lack of time has robbed us of the ability to understand that the truth of living is found in the experience of being, and that life cannot be put on hold while we’re trying to produce more.”

Alexandra Stoddard, Gracious Living in a New World

All the various discussions reminded me of my post from last year at this same time, The Disconnect Challenge. I thought I would link to it today, as it is as relevant to our Beautiful Life project this year. The world seems to be spinning faster and faster, so I think it is wise for us to figure out how to slow it down!

If you are one of the many feeling that overwhelmed sensation, I think it is worth considering how much time you are spending on the computer. Or your blackberry. Or cell phone. Or telephone. Or watching TV. Or multi-tasking between all of those things and maybe 30 other things you think you need to do in a day. Or whatever it is that drains your energy and makes you go through life feeling frantic rather than living a beautiful life. I know I am definitely considering ways I can cut back my time online!

    This is what our Beautiful LIfe Fridays is all about. Keeping ourselves focused each week on what really matters to us. Challenging ourselves to JUST SAY NO to things that drain our energy. And slowing down the pace to enjoy simple pleasures in life. Turning off the computer and finding beauty in our real lives.

Feel free share about your goals or experience with balanced living in the comments or link up your relevant Beautiful Life post via Mr. Linky (click her for the rules found partway down the post!)

photo: House Beautiful

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Comments

  1. Wow! This is perfect timing. Being balanced is always a struggle for me and add blogging to that and BOOM! I’ve been thinking about actually writing out a schedule…I have to be very intentional where my life is concerned, very few things come naturally for me~
    Happy Friday!
    Robin Rane’
    All Things Heart and Home

    Robin Rane’ ~ All Things Heart & Homes inspiring blog post..~Ahhhh, Order Restores Creativity~

  2. This is so spot on!
    Have a great week Melissa!

    Becky K.s inspiring blog post..On Living a Beautiful Life…Every Day….

  3. Melissa, being new to this whole blogging thing, I am definitely working on finding my balance. I have been working on my personal rules the last week or so, realizing a couple of things 1) The purpose of my blog is to inspire others through living a beautiful life…if I am on the computer too much…not so inspiring 2) My blog is ONE of my creative outlets, not my ONLY…I want time to write (other material), sew, CREATE…3) Purposeful parenting requires FOCUSED time with my children. Here are my new BLOG rules. 1) Be Completely UNPLUGGED at least one day per weekend..NO e-mail, no writing for the blog, no surfing. 2) COMPLETELY unplugged from the moment my kids get off the bus, until after they are in bed (3:30-8:00). It has been great getting started, but now it is time for some boundaries. Great topic….

    Shawn/Lifeatbuttercupfarms inspiring blog post..Mirepoix au gras

  4. I try to give myself some level of a disconnect challenge a couple days/week. Whether it’s just no computer until everyone is in bed or just email and no blog – whatever I feel like I need to step away from.

    Great reminder Melissa that we have lives to live beyond the life in our blog.

    Emily@remodelingthislifes inspiring blog post..Link Love: Baby, It’s Cold Outside Edition

  5. I have two days a week that are considered my full blown computer days. They are the days when the husband is gone all day. And my oldest is at school. I have a 2 1/2 year old at home.

    For the rest of the week I spend some time in the morning on the computer and in the afternoon. The rest is spent on my family, house, God, etc.

  6. I have also been trying to cut the fat in my daily life. I don’t spend a lot of free time blogging or visiting other blogs, but I do spend a lot of time thrifting and researching deals. One thing I am trying to stick to is only one day of bargain shopping and errand running. That way I can be home the rest of the time to cook and care for my home. Thanks for writing this, I could certainly scale back a little more.

    Today’s post on my blog is one of the most serious I have ever written. This time of year is when I start feeling the true humbling nature of what Christ did for us on the cross. Since Lent began this week, I wanted to devote a little time over at my place just for Him.

    songbirdtiffs inspiring blog post..The Gift (Grace Worship Team)

  7. Like everyone else, I struggle with this concept. I think it’s even harder being a stay-at-home-mom. I wouldn’t change my job for anything in the entire world, but sometimes, I feel like the Internet/blogging/iPhone is my connection to the outside world and adult interaction. I strive to turn off the computer and TV every afternoon when I am finishedmy daily chores, so that my son and I can just “be.” We often go play outside now that it has gotten warm, and it’s so nice to just play and remember what it was like to be young.

    At the same time, I’ve met some of my best real life friends online. I joined a Meetup.com playgroup when my son was about 3 months old, and those girls are still my best friends to this day. We don’t get together as often as we used to now that the kids are getting older, but we still get together for our Mom’s Nights Out and the occasional playdate when the kids aren’t in preschool.

    Being online in reasonable amounts of time isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, my DH and I met online (GASP!), and we’ll be celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary next month. :)

    Everything in moderation.

    living with lindsays inspiring blog post..Hooked on Monograms

  8. Melissa,
    The links you have in these posts are very powerful and thought provoking. Blogging can be a wonderful thing but like all things in life it must be done in moderation. I used to try to stick to a posting schedule of four days a week but I realized how much time I was spending preparing the post, editing the post, taking photos, editing photos, uploading photos, etc. I now go at a more inspired pace rather than a schedule. I am not nor have ever been an everyday blogger. My blog will never be a “big” blog because I don’t want to put that much time and effort into it at this stage in my life. The posts that I do do, I try to make them quality and quantity and give my readers rich text as well as photos. I love the blog community and have met some amazing people and had some amazing opportunities open up for me because I stepped into it. This said, I don’t want a virtual life to over ride my real life. I used to feel guilty if I did not respond to every comment, pay a return visit to everyone who visited me, or visit on a regular basis every person on my favorites list. I now do what I can when I can and express my gratitude within my posts for those who choose to visit my blog. For me balanced blogging means that I keep perspective on my priorities and for me blogging is not one of the highest things on my list. I love sharing and I love the inspiration I get from blogging and I hope to be a part of the community for a long time to come. Thank you for the perspective on authentic living.

  9. Hi Melissa. I really relate to this one! I’m embarassed that I do. Yesterday my 5 year old made a picture for me and at first I thought it was a picture of me and a basketball hoop. I was touched and said to my husband, “Awww.. he loves me as much as he loves baksetball.” But then my boy interrupted and said, “No, that’s your keyboard.”

    Opening an online business ~ when you work from home~ can be a dangerous thing. I’m committed to it, I have to be. Steve needs me to do this with him. But my children are my first ministry so it’s time to restore the balance. Thanks for a great post!

    Blessings… Polly

    Pollys inspiring blog post..Simple Ambiance

  10. Wow! What a great post. I am new to the blogging world. New at reading them and writing them. Your blog has inspired me. It is a great balance of creating beauty in our lives and honoring the Creator of our lives. I am learning to balance both as I journey through this life with my crew. I thank you for the inspiration you have shared and the honesty that it’s not always easy!
    Joy

    Joy Cronauer…Joy at Homes inspiring blog post..Let’s Play!

  11. Being at home a lot and on my own most of the time, the computer does take over more than I would like it too…so at night I switch it totally off..and don’t normally turn it on until late morning, but today was earlier, as had two important posts to do! Also today , I have nearly finished my spare room, painted all the skirting boards, ready for new carpet on Monday! Have only been to work one day this week, and on Wednesday I went to Oxford for the day, met my friend and went to an Auction house for the day! On Sunday I will go to church and then go walking with my friends.

    Too be very honest ..at the moment all I have to do in the house is decorate..but no money to do it with..so it can be pretty boring on your own. Most of my friends have young/younger children and are busy with them, and the people around here are elder and never out…in fact the street is sooo quiet as I look up the road.

    But I am trying to find things to do, to occupy myself, I am looking into getting another job, that will give me more hours out of the house, which means less boredom, hopefully different interests….see already I have thought, “different interests I can “BLOG” about…!!!!

    annes inspiring blog post..Congratulations and Well done……

  12. It’s nice to take a break from the daily routine and change it up. Turn off the computer and cell phones and do something different. Get outside. Try a hike for a day trip. Commune with nature.

    Gennaros inspiring blog post..Bodh Gaya: Place Of Buddha’s Enlightenment

  13. Eeek I completely forgot to add the link back here on my post. Just did it. Sorry, Melissa! And NOW I am getting of the computer for the day.

    Emily@remodelingthislifes inspiring blog post..Link Love: Baby, It’s Cold Outside Edition

  14. Oh this is so cool. The post I have been working on for tomorrow will actually fit in with this week’s discussion. I’ll be sure to tag on to Mr. Linky.

    Thank you for all you do, Melissa, to make Blogdom such a delight. For me, because everyone is sooooo busy and unavailable, I find the connectedness in Blogdom with other women that I so need. But it certainly is a matter of balance as is true for all things.

    Vees inspiring blog post..A Valentine Arrives

  15. I struggle with this so much. I really, really much prefer to have a quick chat on the phone, meet or have someone over for coffee, or drop a note in the mail to things like Facebook, Twitter, etc. However, I find that I feel left behind if I am not involved with those things. I just recently stopped visiting Facebook altogether – it’s just not worth it to me.

  16. Being on the computer too much, just like watching too much TV, can really rob us of family time. It seems people are really wanting to connect with their families more right now, I think, because of the economic downturn. I for one wish such a downturn was not occurring (I just got laid off, which stinks), but it has helped me refocus on my family and that is the silver lining because I think many people are doing the same.

    Life is still good, and we just need to get out there and live it!

    Taylor at Household Management 101s inspiring blog post..Feb 27, Does A Messy House Make It Harder For Your Kids To Learn To Read?

  17. I spend way too much time on the computer. But only in the winter when it’s too cold to do much else.

    We don’t have cable or satellite, no blackberry, cellphone or other such gadgets. I rarely ever talk on the phone so my mac is my only electronic vice.

    I can’t wait until spring so I can turn off the screen and spend all day outside.

    Jens inspiring blog post..Living Room Complete! Well mostly.

  18. I really think that balance is hard to find but one has to be intentional and committed about creating it. It doesn’t matter if an individual, blogs or doesn’t blog; works outside the home or works within the home; has a family or not.

    Life as we know it today is synomymous with phones, cable T.V., appointments, church engagements, dinner dates with friends and family, PTA meetings, office meetings, small businesses, blogs, the internet — for myself I’ll add a horrendous NYC subway commute (LOL!!). A constant barrage of “extras” that need our attention from time to time.

    I for one was glued to my workphone (although I hate the instrument …LOL) so I had to PURPOSE to not answer during vacations, sick days and on weekends. Being a student (in these dire economic times) has forced me to cut back on some non-essentials like cable service and a personal cell-phone. Not having these extras has given me time to “time out”, to assess what’s important, what’s a little less important and what I need to back away totally from. Now I find myself reading more, sleeping better, cooking more and the creative juices I thought had died are slowly coming back into focus. Last weekend I was able to declutter my library and my pantry. Doing so has made cooking and reading much more joyous exercises. The effort it took to declutter has resulted in contentment instead of angst. I can now find what I’m looking for (LOL) whether I’m cooking or I need to read or do research.

    Being purposeful in 2009 about living the best life I could live has done wonders for me. It’s only been two months since we started this challenge, but my experiences to date have been amazing despite life’s imperfections. I know that balance is not always easy to create … but we need to … for rejuvenation of self which in turn allows us to better love and care for the people who are most important to us including ourselves.

    Nickys inspiring blog post..Fabulous Friday — Decluttering Success

  19. Amen sister. I know I’ve pulled back in the last few weeks. I don’t want to be married to a computer. I much prefer the touch, feel and smell of my husband.

    In trying to balance the blogging thing, I’ve also visited the subject of efficiency. I’m trying to set the house up better for efficient use so time is spent more wisely. I also am scheduling myself better for things like blogging and emailing.

    Great inspiration today Melissa!
    Pretty Organizer

    Pretty Organizers inspiring blog post..Scenes of Efficiency

  20. The computer is at the top of my list (and my hubby’s) for robbing us of time. I sometimes ask myself what I “did” today . . . too often it was being on the computer. Somehow that doesn’t seem like it should qualify as “doing” something.

  21. I believe like everything in life it comes down to moderation. To much of anything ( except for Jesus, never can have to much of Him) can be a problem.

    Hope @ Monkey Giggless inspiring blog post..Fiber One Chewy Bar Spa Break Gift Basket Giveaway

  22. It is often hard to find a balance. I struggle with it myself. I know for me the best thing I can do is put first things first…you know, take care of the big things (God, Family, Friends), then the small things seem to fall into place.

    Hope everyone has a fabulous Friday!

    jennykates inspiring blog post..Friday Confessions

  23. balance, moderation is always a struggle. I blog after I take the girls to school and my little guy is playing I have my coffee time and blog (I think it is important to have something for Me) I am more creative now that I blog. I feel inspired to get up and move which I think being a stay home mom sometimes we get in a rut! and that effects kids and marriages! And the other thing I do is not over schedule my children, We are not going from one thing to the next! We are kinda simple really, backyard fun for all, don’t have to drive everywhere and let them play using there imagination!
    Great post and great reminder to enjoy life at a slower pace!
    LuLu

    LuLus inspiring blog post..Zebra And Duck Meet…

  24. I honestly just took a day off of work today to help balance this week out. The apartment needs serious cleaning and I never feel like doing it on the weekends when I could be having fun with my husband instead. So today I’m just going to take a nice shower, meditate, do a bit of cleaning, write an essay to submit to a contest, and enjoy not answering the phone.

    Leas inspiring blog post..a beautiful life friday

  25. I confess to a similar feeling. But t doesn’t have with the pressure. After all not many of us are doing this for a living or are not all that popular, as to feel the pressure to be present. What I think is the matter with me, is that very many blogs feel identical. It’s like blogging is taken too seriously to be fun and everyone is trying too hard, and that ends up too tiring for both the blogger who is reader-driven, and the reader who sees almost identical blogs, especially when it comes to decoration popping up here and there, the same pictures, the same rooms. Happily, you have a personality to support yur blog, that is why I am still here, typing, lol!

    Irenes inspiring blog post..Paper (and fabric) love

  26. I think God is trying to get my attention and He’s using my favorite bloggers to do it! Although I have slowed down my blogging obsession, I still spend way too much time on this stupid box, which in turn leaves me dissatisfied with my home for two reasons. First, it’s not like the pictures I see on my favorite sites, and second, because I’m on the computer, a lot of what I COULD be doing is not getting done. Some re-thinking is definitely in order.

    Heathahlees inspiring blog post..My wife rocks!

  27. Thank you for this reality check! It truly was just what I needed to see. :)

    Shannans inspiring blog post..Balance – It’s a good thing.

  28. Loved your post today! It is so true that we need to keep our REAL connections :) Thanks for the inspirations!

    Tamaras inspiring blog post..Hooked on Keepin’ It Fun!

  29. I too have been surprised at the number of truly beautiful blogs that have ceased to exist in the last week or so due to the overload factor. I started my blog as a sort of gratitude journal, I don’t really have any other agenda than that, so if I find I’m being a little too “connected” I remind myself of my original intention. Different if it was my business, but it’s not, it’s a creative outlet that I want to keep enjoying for a long time to come so it needs to be sustainable. I’m trying to stick to the “Live first, blog later” principle.

    Merediths inspiring blog post..Easter Nesting

  30. We’ve recently made intentional choices and decisions in the recent weeks to prevent our schedule from getting too out of control. What a great reminder to continue to do just that. Thanks.

    Donnettas inspiring blog post..Emergency Budget

  31. That’s such a good word and reminder for me! I think I’ve been needing a bit of balance in this area, I think a break would do me good!

    Ginas inspiring blog post..Homemade Facial Scrub

  32. I think we know deep down when things get out of balance. For me, parameters have really been helping. I have set a time limit to my blogging. Somehow, I have a feeling that once the weather gets beautiful…. we will all abandon our computers! :)
    In all seriousness, God has made it perfectly clear that I was blogging too much, and He nudged me to take it down a notch or two.

    Darlene@WorthWalkingTowards inspiring blog post..Must Haves: Eyelash Gear

  33. I only have one blog to maintain. I actually set aside just a few minutes to blog visiting per day.
    I’m blessed with working with my husband and son. And we do try hard to not discuss work over dinner.
    Enjoy your life…you only get to do it once.

    Ronas inspiring blog post..Happy Seventeeth Birthday Marcus! February 26, 2009

  34. Hi Melissa-
    Today I am getting caught up on your blog , {and I feel sad to have missed linking up to the beautiful challenge today} While at my Dad’s internet is a hit and miss thing-
    Your thoughts and inspiration are always timely- thanks- {One thing that helps me in the “wise time” department is trying to do as much as I can during what I call “dead space” early morning or late evening. Plus I love how on typepad I can delay the time my post pop up so I can do several at one time and have them posted to pop up days apart- Makes it looks like I’m working away everyday- but not really- :}
    Thanks for the great reminder- Have a wonderful day-
    Teresa

  35. Very timely post. As a nursing mom, I’m on the lap top A LOT. If I look at my daughter, she wants to grin and coo when I want her to eat…so I read blogs instead.

    Also as a mom, I think it’s important to stay involved in the changes technology brings. I know that my kids won’t be participating for a long time, but when they do I want to be there with them. I wouldn’t send them to a house if I’ve never met the parents- it’s just the same with the computer. So I twitter once or twice a week, I keep the e-mail up to chat with my sister and dad, I have a few blogs (one craft, one cooking with mostly family recipes, and one just for family.) But I definitely could do a better job of partitioning family time from computer time. I feel bad about the times I’m multi-tasking when I could be on the rug playing with the kids.

    Myrnies inspiring blog post..Beautiful Life: French Bread for my Family

  36. I write for two blogs, homeschool my kids, study at University, help my husband to promote his career and do quite a bit of volunteer work for two charities.

    The balance is impossible but somehow it all comes together and works!

    Great to know that things are not so different no matter where you are in the world – I am in New Zealand.

    Madeleines inspiring blog post..Top MandM 10 NZ Christian Blogs January 08

  37. I’ve been away, too long. :-)

    Ahhh yes, the speed-ed-up-life! -sigh- Perhaps that will become a thing of the past also. Along with much that comprised life, in the “we must have all, and we must have it now!” times. Those times, which now seem so far in the past.

    Not having boughten totally into “those times,” I see some of the losses, as being more long-term-gains. I see the speed-ed-up-life, that way, for sure…

    Aunt Amelia
    “It seems a long time since the morning mail could be called correspondence.” ~Jacques Barzun

    Aunt Amelias inspiring blog post..Does anyone…? Anymore…?

  38. The BEST part of MY DAY day starts by reading my bible before posting devotionals and Christian music on my blog. Over the past month the stress of work and constant worry about things of this world were beginning to taking a toil. Recognizing that some things are out of my control, I’ve gone back to the basics. Now, I’m listening to music and sermons streaming live from stations like Bott Radio Network while working. This helps me re-charge my soul with spiritual food (aka the WORD) when I can’t read my bible during the day.

    TODAY let’s make every minute count because “God has not called us to be successful but to be faithful.” -Mother Teresa

    P.S. Melissia, your posts always make my day just a bit brighter. Thanks to everyone on this beautiful site who takes TIME out of your busy lives to post comments!

    Charlotte at Simply Divine Christmass inspiring blog post..There are Two Kinds of Pride

  39. I’m actually taking part in an RTE programme called ‘Not enough hours’ as I’ve been finding I just don’t have enough time in my day for work, play, kids, myself etc. Have discovered I spend a ridiculous amount of time on emails not to mention being addicted to my laptop! I purposefully hadn’t got a Blackberry as I knew it would be fatal. Have to say it is starting to work now and I’m achieving much more in terms of quality time with family and getting things done. Definitely worthwhile even if I end up mortified watching myself on TV!

  40. I love this post. So timely.
    I want to share part of an email I received from my 9-yr old DD
    I’ve learned….
    That the Lord didn’t
    do it all in one day
    What makes me
    think I can?

    Imelda Phillipss inspiring blog post..Adding Cheer to Housework

  41. Debbykay says:

    Great Friday post! It is all about balance in one’s life isn’t it? I have been thinking a lot about balance AND intentionality–the idea is to create intentionality and purpose in a lot of what I do for family, friends, faith and my home. No matter what it is, there can always be TOO much of a good thing.

    Hope you stop by for a chat–I am really a novice with blogging and would love to have you chat.

    Best,
    Debbykay

    Debbykays inspiring blog post..Finding Everyday Beauty

  42. This is a great topic, I’ve been feeling overconnected for a while and was putting myself under a lot of pressure to keep up with my blogs (yes, more than one, not wonder I’m stressed!). I’m now trying to be more honest, posting about things that really inspire me, and whenever I feel it’s the right time rather than trying to keep to an schedule. I can’t possibly compete with some amazing bloggers out there, so I’ll just keep enjoying reading. Thanks for starting this conversation!

    Bs inspiring blog post..Disconnect

  43. I am re reading a great book: “Breathe” by Keri Wyatt Kent. As I learn more I might post about it.

  44. Hi Melissa. So interesting that you’re discussing disconnect this week. That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling, and I’m later than usual in linking up to your Friday Mr. Linky party. I think those breaks are important though, allowing us to recalibrate and refresh so we can find our balance once more. ~Arleen

    Arleens inspiring blog post..Inspiration ~ French Doors & Windows

  45. Sarah .aka. Mamalotsoftots says:

    thank you so much! Such a definite issue for me.

    Sarah .aka. Mamalotsoftotss inspiring blog post..I’m sorry you have been. . . Disconnected

  46. wow this blew me away really, I thought it was just me that felt a little overwhelmed lately.

    I am coming back to read these comments through properly and to follow the links – I will come back later AFTER my real life stuff is done and I think that is the key for me making sure important stuff is done first instead of time running away on the computer

    I’ve had a few tough and nasty comments on my blog lately and seeing as I don’t use it for advertising (tho I seem to get asked every day lol!) I began to wonder why am I doing this? but you know for me it is a great way to focus on getting stuff done and I love connecting with people who in normal life I wouldn’t meet…I suppose that’s why I’m still blogging

    I could turn this into a very long comment but I think I’ll go iron the school unifoms

    great inspiration and insight on here as ever, just like to say I enjoy my visits

    Sarah

    p.s. glad you liked the tassel, thanks for the mention, I made a beachy swag today, my talents unlimited haha!

  47. Wonderful post! So inspiring. I LOVE spring and what I’m looking forward to the most is planting flowers! Every year I make a new garden, but my favorite are my potted plants on my deck . I really enjoy being on my swing and just looking at my flowers while the spring breeze blows at me.

    Lisas inspiring blog post..A Few Thoughts About Love

  48. Balancing home, work, studies, play, blogging is such a juggle. It is great when you get it right and so much stress when you don’t!

    Madeleines inspiring blog post..Madeleine Playing in the Sandpit

  49. As a clothing and home furnishing designer, I love all things that are beautiful, exquisite and almost one of a kind. I love every seasons here in NYC, there are so many things to do and to inspire you.

  50. Brilliant and inspired! Thank you for the reminder to disconnect and reconnect ;-)

    Betsy, La Vidas inspiring blog post..wppi | las vegas

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