A couple weekends ago I turned my phone back into a phone, took the smart out of smartphone if you will and unplugged for the weekend.
It was long overdue. I knew it could be done. Even though I’m fairly young and of the generation who grew up with this technology – hyper-connected and uber social, I still remember a time when I had to go home to check my voicemail. I remember when dinner was just food and drink and conversation, when small talk was a courtesy and an art and when people couldn’t see what I was eating unless they were with me.
So, I read about National Day of Unplugging on Twitter somewhere. Surprise. I can always use a good cause (excuse) to get behind. A reason not to check emails from bed first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to sleep. A reason not to experience everything from behind a 4″ screen. Being on-demand is exhausting. It does something to you. It’s not healthy.
The premise: sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, no social media, no apps, no texting, no internet. Those might not be the official rules but I clarified for myself that a phone was a phone only. You talk on it. I also shut down my laptop. Turned that sucker off. No smart tv either – nada. I disconnected to feel more connected to what’s around me.
I easily stuck to the rules and timeline and I learned some new things, and some I’d forgotten, along the way:
1. I take amazing photos in my mind when I’m really seeing something. And the filter is one of kind.
2. To share those pictures in my head and do them justice I need to be a great storyteller. I need to be descriptive. I need to be authentic. I need to communicate in a way that is understandable to whomever I’m talking with. It’s an exercise that translates to how we communicate as marketers.
3. I miss writing, physical writing, with pen and paper. Cursive is a dying art in itself. Some schools have stopped teaching it and no matter the reason it breaks my heart.
5. Rarely is there a real good reason to hurry. Most deadlines are arbitrary and most drama is self-imposed or due to complete lack of planning.
6. I feel infinitely more creative within the margins. By “margins” I don’t mean “within the lines” or “within the rules” but rather within the margins between to-dos. The white space on my calendar, the times not working to meet a demanding deadline. It’s important for all of us to understand our individual process for the getting the best of our abilities in a way that is sustainable and allows us to do it long-term.
Taking care of yourself helps you take care of your customers and your business. Sometimes you have to disconnect in order to connect with what matters.
Have you unplugged recently? How’d it go? Share with us in the comments.