Balancing the Virtual and the Real

Call it online research, perpetual networking, job search, distracted soliloquies or just plain entertainment, the social party is too good to miss out.

But sometimes we need intervention. If we have work-life balance, then there should also be virtual-real balance. And by ‘real’ I mean our day-to-day tangible lives. Yep. Remember that one?

So before someone else calls 911 for you as they find you passed out in front of your screen at 5am or twittering towards a bus, here’s some stuff I’ve tried and have helped:

  • get 8 hours of sleep
  • read printed materials
  • exercise at least twice a week
  • volunteer in something you’re good at
  • commune with nature
  • spend time with family
  • meet up with close, old time friends
  • occasionally, leave your mobile at home
  • cook your own meals
  • if you can’t cook, learn
  • do something creative/artistic
  • pay more attention to your partner

Not rocket science, really. But sometimes we do forget these basic, old fashioned and pragmatic activities.

Twitter won’t always miss you. In fact, I doubt it ever does. And whatever obligations bind you to your life, they will always need your attention. If you’re not paying attention to the real, you’d slowly perish and bob away like a drifting bark in the turbulent social sea. Aaarrr!

Balance. Quite time. Real time. Hammer time*. We all need it. More than we realize.

*This passage was inspired by a random tweet from @mktgdouchebag

8 thoughts on “Balancing the Virtual and the Real

  1. Right. So if I see you twittering at 5am, I’ll be calling 911. It’s obvious you Twitter-heads are doomed to be wired forever.. MWAAHAHAHA!! By the way, can you teach me how to cook?

  2. So true! It’s so hard to pull yourself away from the online world. It’s a feeling of disconnection, like I’m missing so much. But you’re right in reminding us that we do have ‘real’ lives that shouldn’t be neglected. There are so many things to your everyday live that need nurturing in order for you to stay healthy and happy. Like you said, there needs to be a balance.

    I mean, who is going to be there with you when you’re too old to type and can’t make out the letters on your keyboard? Your computer, I don’t think so. 🙂

  3. Love it. I think the list that you made is great. The one thing I have found about Twitter is that when I end up meeting the person face-to-face instead of through the computer, is that I have more meaningful discussions. I think this is because I pretty much have caught up on all the “small talk” on Twitter and I know what they like to discuss, etc., and that leads to deeper conversation in person.

    Speaking of the list, one time I did leave my BlackBerry at home and was chastised for being out of pocket. 😉

  4. Yes, yes, I get it. Thanks for reminding me, Mr. Berger. But that was back in the day (oh a few weeks ago) when I was completely hardwired to mobile and expected eveyone else to be…uhm, and still do. HA!

    But seriously, I do get the sense that since social media/Twitter got injected into our lives, those of us who espouse and participate have become irrevocably glued to it. As if missing a few nano sceonds mattered so much to the extent that on occasion our online engagements were replacing other equally if nto more meaningful priorities: like communing with nature (well, for me it’s a huge deal).

    Speaking of which: yours truly is off to commune at Algonquin this week! – must definitely bring my anti-twitch meds and MAYBE leave by BlackBerry @ home..or maybe not 🙂

  5. Wow, I feel pretty good Autom. Other than 8 hours sleep and intentionally leaving my Blackberry at home, I do these things.

    Actually, having the Blackberry and getting about 6 1/2 hours is what allows me to keep connected and still do the things in your list.

    I do agree however that it is a struggle and I feel compelled to try and take advantage of all the information that is now even more readily accessible.

  6. Not to comment with any overlap here, but I think most of us are guilty of meeting the daily recommended 8 hours of sleep requirement (Lord knows I am). Otherwise, I think I have met all items on your little checklist and for that I feel pretty darn proud that my CrackBerry has not yet gotten the best of me. 😀

    All-in-all this was a very enjoyable read. I liked the witty humor you applied and how you tried to put your own personal online habits into perspective. I won’t dive into too much detail here, but I am sure when you’re not glued to the screen at home… you are completely guilty of breaking out that BB Curve of yours, Twittering the play-by-play of what should be your well balanced list with no online exposure!

    So, my friend… where is the real balance?


  7. Ooo Mr. Friedman joins the ranks of Mr. Berger, calling me on my own words. Sure. I am the first to admit of being guilty with my BB perma-holstered to the hip. But why do you think I am compelled to write a reminder list? In advance of further misinterpretations (comical or otherwise) I should clarify that if my writing voice in anyway starts to sound preachy, PLEASE call me on it. Last thing I need is to unknowingly sound like I’m careening on my toes, jesticulating like a crazed zealot on a well worn soapbox ;-P

    So pleasantries aside, YES, nobody’s perfect. But that’s not the point. The point is to AIM to strike balance for the sake of both our physical and mental health. Given that mandate, the above list is not a must-tick-each-box approach but rather a multiple choice of tips to help you strike that balance.

    I do luv commentary that incites back and forth banter. Yes, banter. Good show. Cheers A

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