When to unplug?
It’s the perfect excuse on any given weekend when the weather turns the corner, snow melts away the temperature warms up and the trees blossom. Pack the car, load up on your drinks (craft beers and good wine) and head north for a weekend at the cottage. As an entrepreneur it’s near impossible to unplug, let go of the technology, say goodbye to the machines and take in all the good being unplugged has to offer. So let’s unplug and refocus.
Admittedly I’m not an outdoor junkie, hiking miles of trails, mountain biking across prairies or sleeping in the bush. I enjoy my indoor time as much as my outdoor. Lately however, I find myself in a conundrum, which is the ability to simply stop and think without the distraction of technology. Actually cutting the cord in an effort to be constructive, to read, to plan and do countless other activities without having the constant urge to see who’s tweets are trending, what people are saying on Facebook or watching the latest YouTube vid.
My daily work routine consists of getting my kids to school, getting to work, grabbing my coffee, checking my to do’s for the day, week, month and get going. On average I get close to a couple hundred emails, respond to three dozen of them and take around 25 or so calls before lunch, no complaints, love it but this trend generally rolls into my evenings and weekend, admittedly on a smaller scale but still, there was no downtime. Like all top marketing agencies we put a lot of pressure on ourselves in the pursuit of putting out the best web solutions, SEO strategies and being an integral part of the web development community, our clients expect nothing less and we strive to attain this.
I had read a great article posted on Forbes from Alice G. Walton titled Feeling Overconnected? 5 Reasons To Unplug From Technology After Work , the article resonated with me as I felt a lot of the habits mentioned were things I would do without thinking twice. Although the article was about turning off after work, I thought I need a bit more distance between me and my technology.
The Great Unplugging Incident of 2014
This past weekend, I made a conscious attempt to do what I’ve dreaded doing since being issued my first generation blackberry nearly 15 years ago, unplugging! What would happen? Was the company going to burn to the ground? Are the staff going to see this as me neglecting them and their requests? Are clients going to feel left out or feel like we’re providing them with poor service? I wouldn’t know unless I gave this a try.
My wife and I packed our 4 kids and headed north
The idea was to limit connectivity, easier said than done, I had her snap a selfie of me and then asked her to turn off my iPhone.
And so it began, I was unplugged. Naturally the urge came and went to grab my phone at each stop light to check messages, but I didn’t let my guard down. The conversation was flowing the kids were telling me stories about strange alien encounters in our house, how Peppa Pig and Miss Piggy need to get to know one another and from my 7 year old, “why is the drive taking so long…“
Getting to our destination flew by, no stress, lot’s of conversation and laughs. So far being unplugged wasn’t so bad.
During the weekend, I used my iPhone for taking pictures, no texts, no email, no work calls. I had my laptop with me which collected dust for three days.
I survived and then some!
I had the amazing opportunity to spend quality time with my wife and kids, taking in some road hockey, basketball, baseball, a few bottles of wine, catching up on a library of music I’ve neglected and was simply just in tune with my surroundings. I had some of the best sleep I’ve had in a long while and oddly by the end of the weekend didn’t get the urge to have to be connected. Overall what was the lesson learned here? For starters:
- Nothing happened at the office that couldn’t be addressed on Monday morning.
- The Office didn’t burn down and the staff miraculously showed up Monday without any notions of feeling neglected.
- As for our clients, they’re were all still high fiving us and hadn’t gone anywhere.
My suggestion to Entrepreneurs is take the time to unplug, as Alice mentions in her blog you’ll reap the rewards of focusing on the present company around you and unplugging will do volumes for your mental health.
I’m happy to hear your suggestions and feedback, what’s worked for you?
Ready to unplug?