Feeling drrrrrained by emails, blogs, newsletters — the whole Internet? Take back your power.

 
 

I was sixteen years old, a scrawny, bawling mess — the very first time I got my heart broken.

 

He’d swept into my life, all charm, come-hither kisses + CK One cologne. I was the center of his world for a few blissful weeks, and then … he got bored. There was another more, ahem, sexually-advanced + adventurous sixteen year old siren who caught his eye.

I got tossed.

I was in turmoil.

My mom held me and said — in that wise, cell-soothing tone that every mom uses at least once a week — “Al, what’s the lesson here?”

“I don’t knooooooow,” I blubbered.

“No, you DO know,” she said. “The lesson is that you gave all of your power away to this boy. The lesson is that you always hold onto your power. Next time, you’ll know.”
 

Whenever we give all of our power away — whenever we let other people make decisions for us, dictate the rules, or dominate our whole day — we drain. We dim. We die, a little.

 

And we don’t just give away our power to other people — we give it away to systems, beliefs, tools, even … the Internet.

Today?
 

Take back your power.

 

Start with the Internet. (It’s simple + the impact is immediate.)
 

You have the power + you are allowed …

 

: To delete your Facebook account. Yes, really. Completely. You can still run a profitable businessget a book deal … stay connected with friends … throw + get invited to parties. It’s possible. I’m living proof.
 

: To let certain emails — lots of emails — rest peacefully in your inbox for 2, 3, 7 or 10 days before answering them. You’re not “getting behind on your emails.” You’re “getting ahead on your life.”
 

: To answer ALL of your emails in the form of a three-line haiku. Just because you want to.
 

: To post poetry on your “professional, business-focused blog,” even if it’s not perfect + amazing. Why not? I do.
 

: To focus on building a body of work + sharing it with a small-but-devoted audience, rather than networking with “influential pro-bloggers” in the hopes that they’ll share your art with the world. (Or you can do both. Whatever feels good.)
 

: To take a digital sabbatical. For a month. A week. A few hours every evening. Or your whole life.
 

: To un-subscribe, un-follow, un-like, un-pin, un-participate in any online communities that no longer feel like a big, mighty YES. (Just don’t be a perpetual flake. When you devote, follow through.)
 

: To treat the Internet as a tool, a workspace, a publishing platform, an occasional playground, a means to amplify your message. It doesn’t have to be the core of your career. It doesn’t need to be your home.
 

: To slam shut your laptop right now + spend the rest of the day basking in the sunshine. Or curled under a blanket. Or making crepes with your kid. Or kissing someone who honors your power + gives you more, more, more.
 

Shut down. Power UP.

 

xo.

 

What’s ONE way that you could take back your power — online, offline, anywhere in your life + work — today?

 
 

Comments

Perfect timing. Couldn’t agree more Alex. Feel like taking a digital sabbatical for a very long time :-) Want to smell the trees outside and watch the clouds.

Amen Sister!

I took back my summer (and my power) by automating. I automated & pre-scheduled my mailings, Facebook posts (and Tweets) & blog posts which means I spent a lot less time online and a lot more time playing outside.

Feels good :)

GREAT post!

I post tarot raps on my blog. It offends a few of the more somber minded type but so what?

Getting rid of my Facebook account….hmmm…….oh, how tempting that sounds.

No!!! Then I’ll have to come to Milwaukee to see you :)

Devon – come! Milwaukee is wonderful!

I always see you write that you can choose not to respond to emails but you always seem to have the time to respond to mine. For that I am very grateful! It may take a while sometimes but you always do. I also love the thought of getting off of Facebook because I spend ooh so much time on it. But It’s my greatest avoidance. When I don’t want to think about things I facebook, hulu, amazon prime, netflix instead. Got any solutions to shake off that habit???

Katie on Sep 10, 2013 Reply

Maybe allow yourself an hour of TV-time as a “reward,” once you’ve attended to the business of the day? That’s what my mom used to do, when I was a kid. Did the trick!

Alexandra Franzen on Sep 11, 2013 Reply

Hi Alex…

I really love the article today. I’m not drained by the whole internet, just pieces of it. I like the idea of taking a “Digital Sabbatical”. By taking the sabbatical, it will help me to slow down and connect with myself and others in a more intimate way.

Thanks for the reminder!

Laynita on Sep 10, 2013 Reply

oh and just in case anyone has the same problem I have of coping with the loss of Facebook. I googled because I am feeling a little anxious just thinking about it. I found this great post.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/the-pros-and-cons-to-deleting-your-facebook/

I am inspired by Alex’s ideas but I am just not sure how to cope :/

Katie on Sep 10, 2013 Reply

Your BEST Post EVER!!!!!

I’ve been unsubscribing for the last couple of days–but damn girl, you are so right on and speak so strongly to me that I delight in each new message from you. Thank you for reminding me to stop giving away my power–exactly what I needed today.

randi k on Sep 10, 2013 Reply

Yay! I just deleted my Linked In and Facebook fan pages a few weeks ago. It felt great and I havent looked back. Timely blog, lots to think about! Thank you!

Omg…. deleating my facebook?! That one is a doozy. 0.0

Beautiful- such wise words! It feels so good to set your limits, stick to them, and not let others (or the internet!) take advantage of them!

I try really hard to take a digital sabbatical every Sunday. It has really freed up my creativity. Funnily enough, when I am in Turkey (couple of months every year) where it is much harder work to get online, I still manage to do everything just fine, including working, and still have HOURS and HOURS of offline time every day!

Hammock swinging anyone? xxx

I have recently rekindled my love affair with … hammocks.

Yes, please. :)

Alexandra Franzen on Sep 11, 2013 Reply

Hi Alex,
Thank you, as always, for your writing. Here I was thinking about my next “to do” – setting up a FB business page. Thank you the permission + proof that this can happen in my own time, on my own terms.
Time to go cuddle my bubba!

My friend Michelle says meditating on tree roots is a great way to get grounded. Thanks for the awesome, detoxing, Autumn harvest suggestions. I definitely need to institute a weekly Wi-fi Shabbat.

Claire, hammocks are the best idea!

This is totally where I’m at…. I’ve just been at a retreat in Bali and the number of ‘I can see you’re away but’, ‘I know you’re at a retreat however….’, ‘Can you review this piece of work when you get a free moment – although I know you’re away’ messages was amazing.

Clearly my boundaries need a lot of work….. Time to claim my time and space back…..

I LOVED this post!!

Much Needed. No more internet for me, for the rest of the day…its not much but its a start!

Thank You:)

Thank you for the beautiful reminder… Only I have the power to unplug and be revitalized! I would love to have a hammock right now! Instead I will be meditating on the tree roots – another brilliant idea!

Treeeeee roots! When I’m back in Portland later this month, I’m going to hug a 100-year old tree. For realz.

Alexandra Franzen on Sep 11, 2013 Reply

I’ve been thinking of how much work I would get done without my facebook, especially concerning my blog. However, I come to the realization that a majority of my small readership comes from Facebook. Any ideas on what to do?

I don’t have a personal vendetta against Facebook — if it feels good + supports your life + work + art, then use it! If it doesn’t feel good, then don’t.

I simply don’t care for it. So I abstain. Choose what feels good for you! :)

Alexandra Franzen on Sep 11, 2013 Reply

Thank you for this!! shut down Facebook?! hallelujah! Yes! Instagram I like, FB…not so much.

Thank you for the nudge I have needed, I worry that every minute or moment lost online is my lost moment, my breakthrough, sounds silly as i write it and yet it is true. Closing the laptop for one day each week, all day that day is my first step back into my life.

As my dear friend Hiro Boga says: “That which belongs with you will return, in many forms, until you are ready to receive it.”

Meaning: there are no “lost” opportunities or “missed” moments. If something belongs to — or with — you, it will keep returning, returning, returning…

Alexandra Franzen on Sep 11, 2013 Reply

Yes!!!!

(That is all ;)

Alexandra, all I want to say is what a delight you are! Love this post! You are a breath of fresh air.

Hi Alex, this post rocked my socks this morning. Thank you for writing it. I love what you said about creating a body of work that is for a dedicated audience. Screw “mass following”! (Telling myself this to handle my “slow growth” in my business.)
Thank you for being you and thanks to your mom for the lovely thing she said to you when you were 16.
With deeeeep appreciation and gratitude to the universe that I found your site about 1 year ago,
Ritu

Alexandra, remember a few years ago when I told you how I wish I could get rid of Facebook? Well, I’m still over here day dreamin’. lol

I will however start answering emails in haiku. Because that’s just about the dopest thing I’ve heard all year;)

omg, yesYesYES. i stare at my computer with contempt at times: why am i so chained to this silver machine? because i choose to be. and i can choose differently.

I love and live by many of these “power” mantras. Sending them to my clients IMMEDIATELY (seriously, chill out, we work online … we are not emergency room surgeons on call with our work).

But I must admit the best part of this post for me was this little memory: CK One cologne. Straight back to junior high!!!

This article was totally relevant to me – I just got home from 5 days in a cabin on a secluded island with no internet or tv or phone – it was pure bliss and I am now dedicated to cutting way back on my internet time. I love the internet, but lately it has felt like a ball and chain. Thanks for this article and for making me laugh with the CK One reference -
I remember it was a big thing when I was in grade 8 – brings back memories…bad ones!

I’m reading this after a 16-day digital hiatus, and I can safely say, “BRING ON TAKING BACK DA POWAH!”

It’s tres liberating to surf the wave of content consumption and not drown in “I gotta stay on top of everything, I mean every little thing that comes my way”.

Now I’m rejuvenated and just having fun reading my favourite bloggers. Isn’t that what it’s all about after all? :)

Leave a Comment