After coming back from the woods I have worked hard to put in place, and maintain what I'm calling an air gap, between me and the online world. It's basically putting distance between me and what happens in the online world, giving me room to breathe, increasing my overall productivity, and leaving me with more time to be creative.
After I checked out this summer I had to uninstall all unnecessary applications from my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. When I had 3G network or wireless Internet, it was always crap, and I needed to keep communication channels open for only the most important of things. After I came back to work I was very cautious and thoughtful about which channels I turned back on, and let into my life once again. The ones I did, I make sure there is an air gap in place, keeping me in control.
Whether it's Google and Medium analytics, or my email inbox, the Facebooks or Twitters and the numerous Slack channels I'm on--they are all demanding my attention. An air gap isn't a fix-all solution, but it does give me the space to focus on what matters and get the important things done. I don't get caught up in every demand for my attention, and I don't get sucked into unhealthy conversations and toxic battles like I used to. It's not that I don't engage anymore, I am engaging even more than before, I am just being much more thoughtful about where and how I engage.
I'm writing about it because I want to get better at talking about it, and making sure that I keep an air gap in place. The more I talk about it, the more I'm aware that it is in place. The more I remember not to have Facebook, Twitter, and Slack open at all times. The more I remember not to respond to any topic, without some deep thought and writing on the subject. I'm not the fastest responder to email, but that is ok. The critical conversations still occur, and the people that matter get through. The rest will wait.
An air gap isn't the perfect solution, but it does give me the space I need to do my research consistently, and maintain a positive outlook on what is going on in my online world.