A little over a year ago we wrote a post about the importance of unplugging. We highlighted the Denver-based software solution company FullContact, who encourages its employees to go off the grid while on vacation. In said post, we also mentioned how staying connected at all times can actually be damaging to not only your sanity, but also to your productivity. So, in the spirit of unplugging, here are five easy tips to truly taking the weekend off.
Conquer Your Fear of Missing Out
When we got down to the nitty gritty reasons behind why people feel a need to stay connected at all times, the top reason seems to be a fear of relinquishing control. To put it bluntly: get over it. You may miss something at the office, or a colleague might make a mistake, but if you’ve done your role well they should be able to continue on without you. Recognize also that by missing out on one thing, you are able to relish in another. Make an effort to stay focused on the present and let your fears subside by recognizing what you gain by taking time off.
If You Can’t Get Off The Grid Alone Get Some Help
It is easy to say you’ll do something, but an entirely different challenge to actually follow through. Leaving your cell phone at home, or promising not to check email may be a struggle you just can’t conquer on your own. If this is the case, get a friend to tag along who is willing to be your “off the grid guide.” Or even better, fill your weekend with action packed adventures like whitewater rafting or rock climbing. Find yourself in a place where cell phones aren’t tempting if not because of the lack of the service, but because your surroundings are so attention grabbing.
Plan Ahead or Don’t
Oftentimes the people, who are most dedicated to their work, are the same people who live their life on a schedule. If you are this way, recognize it and use it to your advantage. Make a distinct plan, write it down or even… put in your iCalendar, to make your off the grid time less abstract. Tell friends and family that you will be unreachable so they can also plan ahead. Another strategy to plan ahead is to unplug everything the night before so that when your weekend off begins your electronics will be out of battery, and you will be rid of temptation!
It can be unnerving for family and friends when a loved one goes quiet and is unresponsive. Be conscious of that before turning off your cell phone and tell them where you’re going ahead of time. If you’re going on an adventure, let them know when you plan to be back that way they have a time frame for when it’s reasonable to panic. For parents, going off the grid can be difficult if your kids aren’t with you, so make a contingency plan. That way if an emergency does happen you’ll be where you need to be.
Don’t Dramatize Something So Simple
Up until about 20 years ago, electronics were essentially non-existent and constant contact was an inconceivable notion. Recognize that people have done it before, and you can do it now. Understand the benefits of disconnecting. Go outside, breathe fresh air, try something new, and unplug. Computers and cell phones can make life easier (depending on who you ask) but nature and adventure are what make life worth living, so unplug and get going!
Be sure to read up on Why Unplugging is Smart Business, and share with us your tips on how you truly take the weekend off.