We all know that unplugging from social media and our smartphones is healthy for our bodies, our eyesight, our brain function and our relationships. When we talk about unplugging, we talk about it in the context of who we are outside of “the office,” wherever that is, and emphasizing the importance of “embracing the other half of our lives.”
Because when we’re working, we’re supposed to be plugged in 24/7, right?
Every single person I work with–clients, vendors, colleagues, writers–all experience the same problem. They’re plugged in. They’re afraid to disconnect while they’re working because so much of their business is conducted online, in real time, over the phone or through the Holy Trio of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Or they’re Pinning to boost sales. Or they’re designing an Instagram description for their latest post (their 5th post of the day, by the way). Or they’re simply afraid of missing out on something. Anything.
I unplug two days every month, more sometimes if I can schedule it in. During that time, I write articles, essays, email drafts. I mind map. I practice for speaking engagements. I connect with people face to face for no-selling networking and brainstorming. I spend time in nature and remember there are things bigger than a bottom line.
When you unplug, go off the Internet, put your phone in the drawer: the world doesn’t end. It may feel eerily quiet. You may return to a few extra emails the next day. But unplugging at least one full day per month is crucial for your business. Why? Because it forces you to tap into your priorities and re-center yourself and your team. How and what would you sell/provide before the Internet?
Allow your brain to switch into a different mode of thinking. Do walking meetings. Use a whiteboard. Meditate. Talk to your employees and co-workers and check in. Make eye contact during lunch with another person and not with your phone. Refresh to-do lists. Use electronics and the office phones sparingly, just cut off WiFi access.
And what about customer service, you ask? General questions? Emergencies? Do you just sweep it all aside? Think of all that revenue I’ll lose! you yell.
You don’t have to shut out the world completely. Keep the customer service lines open. But make sure the rest of your email is on auto-responder to say you’re having a “business development day” because that’s what it is. You’re developing your business and pushing it forward using other tactics, and that’s always a good idea. Who knows what you’ll uncover during those 8 unplugged hours per month.