It amazes me how many rechargeable items we use on a daily basis. Everything from cell phones and MP3 players to laptops, digital cameras, and rechargeable batteries — and in order to recharge, they all need to be plugged in.
However, I find it ironic that unlike all our rechargeable toys, we often need to UNPLUG in order to recharge.
As a small business owner, I often feel the pressure of staying connected and being available 24/7 for whatever problems might arise. It can be overwhelming, and I've found that the only way I can take any sort of break is by literally unplugging — even if it's just for a few hours on Sunday afternoon.
For me, this means planning ahead to get ready for the week ahead BEFORE Sunday. It also means shutting down my computer, and not answering my phone (unless it's family). I don't log into social media, I don't respond to emails, and I do my best to shut down the business side of my brain.
Is it difficult?
Is it worth it?
After a few hours of being totally unplugged, I have more energy, more inspiration, and I feel more excited to get back to work. I feel recharged!
Maybe you think unplugging won’t work for you (who knows, it might not) — but it definitely can't hurt to give it a try.
When to unplug:
- Whenever you are naturally less productive — so if you're a morning person, you may want to unplug in the evening hours. If you're a night owl, the early morning might be your best time to unplug.
- Whenever you start feeling tired — If you often feel a little tired right after lunch or after a long meeting, take 15-20 minutes to unplug and let your brain wander.
- At a scheduled time each day — if you like to accurately schedule your day, then I'd suggest scheduling at least 1-2 hours of "unplugged" time every day. Maybe you schedule 1 hour mid afternoon and then another hour or two after dinner.
- When you are the least busy — if you have a particular time every day when business is slow, use that as your time to unplug. Let the phones go to voicemail, let the emails build up, and just enjoy whatever you'd like to enjoy without worrying about work!
What to do while you're unplugged:
- Go for a walk — outside, not on the treadmill while you work at your computer
- Flip through your favorite magazines — just for fun
- Spend time with your family and friends — without constantly checking your phone for new emails
- Watch a movie
- Take a nap
- Play a game — sports, cards, board game
- Work on your favorite hobby
What you might notice after unplugging:
- You might feel more alert and have more energy
- You might be happier
- There's a good chance you'll be more productive
- You might be more excited to get back to work and feel more creative once you get back to work
Now, do you feel happier? More energized? More connected with your family and friends? More joyful?
Taking a break might be just what you need to get back on track… I'd highly encourage you to unplug for at least a few hours every week.
When was the last time you took a break and unplugged?