How to unplug

Last Friday night I turned off my phone at 7:30 pm and I didn’t turn it on again until Monday morning at 7:30 am.

It felt great.

I didn’t read one word I didn’t want to all weekend.  (No bad news, no negative comments on social media…nothing)

The only time I spent in front of a screen was shared time with my husband watching something entertaining together.

(My family knew to contact me through my husband in case anything urgent came up.)

I read from a physical book with pages I had to turn.

I finally tried out this mindful colouring book thing.  I got a lot accomplished.

We ate out for dinner and I didn’t look at my phone once.

We were separated in a shopping centre and I just read my book until my husband found me at our agreed meeting spot (just like in the 1980’s)

It’s fair to say I was in a good, and uninterrupted, mood all weekend. 

Going into the week I felt re-energized and ready to interact in the world again.

You should try it too.  Here’s how:

1.Have a weekend tech-detox

Choose a reasonable weekend when you’re not “on call” and give yourself a tech-stay-cation.

Tell the people you love that you’re going offline and how they can contact you in an emergency (only).  Don’t do any work.

Go outside and enjoy the sunshine or stay inside and potter.

Do whatever you want that doesn’t involve solo time with a screen.  (Yep, just like in the 80’s)

2.Try 60-90 minutes of no screen time before bed

Imagine the positive impact of no-screen-time before bed.

I can’t stress enough the value of a good night’s sleep on your productivity, creativity, decision-making and relationship building skills.

Use an old school alarm and put your phone on charge in another room.  Give yourself the space to go to sleep naturally.

3.Go on retreat

Everyone should go on retreat once in their lives

There are so many options for retreats these days.  Pick one that suits your budget, interests and time availability.

I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to go on a 10 day meditation retreat every 18 months for the last 16 years.  My family will tell you that I’m a much nicer person when I return home.

You don’t have to go on a meditation retreat the way I do.  Go hiking somewhere that doesn’t have reception.   If you’ve got the funds try out one of those fancy spas.  Do it your way.

4.Unplug during proactive/high value time

The highest performers in any field manage to spend around 60% of their working day on high value/proactive tasks.

You’ll find that even spending one hour of non-interrupted time on important (and yet not urgent) work each day will help you achieve results.

Look in your diary right now, find an hour today or tomorrow that is free and during this time turn off your phone, email, social media etc.

Only have the documents or files that you need open in front of you and focus on your high value task to the exclusivity of everything else.

If you can’t find an hour, start with 30 minutes.  After you’ve realised how much you got done repeat the exercise the next day.  And the next day.

Do it your way.  Everyone needs their own “unplugging strategy”.  Decide upon yours.

Your family, brain, productivity, happiness and bank account will all thank you.

What’s your unplugging strategy?

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