07/04/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Honey, You're in Techno Overload! Unplug!

No matter where we go in 2010 we can be reached at will by the outside world. Cell phones and text messages, Bluetooth and Sync, SKYPE and email; you're only a click away from being found. Honey, you're in techno overload!

Everywhere I am, it is rare for me not to see someone without a contact device. I am as guilty as anyone else; I was always connected. But a chance remark by my book editor, Ellen Urban, made me stop and think about how I was allowing myself to be a 'prisoner' of all-day technology, every day.
Mentioning that I was going on vacation, I also told her that she could reach me at any time she needed to do so. I would be available through my BlackBerry and my laptop. No problem, I said. Contact me whenever you need me.

The response, coming from a woman who is excellent at what she does and always goes "above and beyond" for her authors, surprised me:

"Oh no," Ellen said, "Take time to enjoy yourself. For me vacations are sacrosanct!"

I took her statement to heart and, as hard as it was for me during the first two days of vacation, I broke the invisible chain to my computer and cell phone. In following her advice, I recharged my life for over two weeks. The unplug and recharge feeling was so good I determined to make it a part of my life after vacation was over.

In a world where everyone is only a heartbeat away from a technology connection, we need to understand that it is in our power to 'disconnect' and live in the moment. No one, save the most self-centered person will think any the less of you for unplugging to recharge your life.

Empower yourself to unplug and recharge by taking the following simple actions.

Turn off your cell. If you're out to dinner, in a theatre, at a movie, on vacation, ( remember? This time is sacrosanct), live in the real moment and enjoy what's going on. You'll be refreshed, relaxed and happier.

Set a time limit for computer use. Yes, it is a wonderful tool and God bless Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and all our tech people, but, remember: there are only 24 hours in a day! It also helps to remember to assess your computer time and use it wisely; so much time for work, so much time for socializing and then walk away from it. Please.

Discover you. What would you like to do that has nothing to do with computers, cell phones, or any other tech devices? What simple thing gives you pleasure? Music, walks, dancing, the arts? You may rediscover things that you have put on hold until 'someday'. Make your 'someday' now.

Read a book, a 'real' one. I love Kindle too but the feel of an actual book in my hand coupled with turning the pages gives me a comfortable, happy feeling. It's the same as being with a friend in person and not on SKYPE; a personal, touchable pleasure.

Daydream. Watch a child who hasn't yet been introduced to GameBoy, DS games, or any other handheld entertainment. They daydream and entertain themselves with unbridled imagination.

Finally, with pen and paper, write a short letter to someone updating them on your life. Email and texting may be faster and give instant gratification but a hand-written missive is something to keep and treasure.

Step away from techno-overload, unplug, recharge and discover life. Your life.

copyright 2010 Kristen Houghton

And Then I'll Be Happy! Look Inside the Book

To read more from Kristen Houghton, peruse her articles at Kristen and visit her Keys to Happiness blog.