In today’s world, fueled by smartphones and constant connectivity, it is hard to have a moment to think without interruption. Unplugging or taking time to detach is so important. The simple act of stepping away gives you a break and can fuel your work and creativity. Here are some of my favorite tips for detaching:
1. Set your boundaries and communicate them.
We all have times of day when we work at our maximum capacity. If you can, set your schedule around this. Do your most important tasks at this time, and when you are not in your work time, detach.
I know this is easier said than done with work demands and even for those who enjoy their job. I love what I do and would work 24/7 if I had the energy to do so. But at some point the tank runs dry.
I have my optimal work times and times when I am not available. I communicate this to clients and to my team through sharing my schedule with my team and making an appointment calendar available to clients.
A big lesson learned for me is, I do not keep email on my phone. Crazy, right? But it stressed me out feeling like I always needed to respond. I am at my desk often enough on a work day to check email 3x a day. I also do not check it after 5 p.m. on weekdays or over the weekend.
This time and space away from email allows my brain to have a break to breathe, have space and be well rested when I get back to work the next day or after the weekend.
2. Take vacations!
Our world has become so busy that for awhile I think it was frowned upon to take a real vacation. But do it. Take a REAL vacation. Just like email, stepping away to rest, relax and have space from work can give you great perspective and renew enthusiasm when you get back.
Come up with a fun and catchy out-of-office message that clearly states you will not be available, and who to contact if needed. Communicate ahead of time that you will be out so there are no surprises for clients.
I travel a few times a year. I’m very clear with our team and clients if it is a working vacation or not. With the ability to work virtually I’m careful to not work all the time on vacation and I decide ahead of time if I will be working on vacation. When I’m out, there is always a point of contact for our clients.
3. Get outside!
Enjoy nature, breathe some fresh air and be away from screens. I need to be more committed about this, but for me there is nothing better than a walk to clear my head. New research is showing that the best way to calm our brain in this fast-paced world is to engage with nature. And I believe it! While I wish I could be on a beach hearing ocean waves, sometimes a walk around the block is almost as helpful.
Exercise – Regular exercise outside or even inside is a great way to detach as well. Again, just like vacation, it is okay to prioritize exercise. Countless studies show that exercise leads to better function on a day-to-day basis. My favorite thing to do is yoga and maybe some weight lifting. You will never catch me running a 5K. Do what you like, but just get out there and move!
As an added bonus, watch as I speak on unplugging in the “great outdoors” on Facebook live! Check out our Facebook live schedule for May 2017 using the graphic below.