This past weekend I celebrated the Easter holiday with my family in California. I don’t get to see them as often as I would like. (Truth be told: I’m more fortunate than most who live away from their families. But, I always wish we had more time.) And, I did something radical. I didn’t check email or social media for 2 days. And, did I miss anything? No. Did the earth stop? No. In fact, most of the email that I “missed” was junk and ended up being deleted immediately on Monday morning. It would have been such a waste of my family time to stop to check email for something so trivial as spam.
Do you stop occasionally to completely tune out from work (and the associated technology)?
This is so very challenging to do. Our smartphones are so smart that we can do everything on them all at once. But I’ve noticed that when I’m constantly looping in to check technology that I don’t give my mind the chance to rest. And, I end up tired and burned out during the “work week”. When I tune out technology and turn off my gadgets I come back to work rested, relaxed, and ready for action. Believe me, it’s hard to shift gears like this. But, it’s worth it!
Here are some things I do to completely “unplug” myself:
- Focus on the task at hand.
The “task” can be something as simple as watching TV. I’m as guilty as the next person of tweeting while simultaneously watching TV. But, at the end of the night I’ve missed half the show. And, it could be my favorite show. What a waste.
- Embrace a hobby.
Idle hands are the devil’s playthings. If I’m not busy doing something I totally enjoy doing, my hands are going to turn to my iPhone. When I’m bored I do this. And, without a hobby to embrace outside of my work, I get bored.
- Plan outings with friends.
This one is a no-brainer…. but I’m going to mention it anyways. I find that some weekends (or times that I should be relaxing) I am stuck in my technology because of the social aspects of it, namely social media. In other words: I am wanting to interact with people. Facebook and twitter are only a few swipes away. But, by doing this, I’m not unwinding the way I could be with a good real-life laugh with friends.
- Read a book – made of paper.
I read all sorts of things on my gadgets: blog posts, newspapers, books, etc. But, I’ve noticed that it’s not nearly quite as relaxing as a good old-fashioned book. There is something about the pages that transports me to another world that feels quite decadent. I think it’s the luxury of time to sit around and *just read* is the decadence itself.
- Commit to unplugging daily.
I find that I’m much better at being tech-free on weekends if I can commit to it daily. I try to avoid technology after 7pm weekly. This gives me time to relax and time for my brain to rest. It also preps me for the longer technology fast over the weekend.
How about you? How do you unplug yourself from technology?