The benefits of technology are enormous. It allows us to eliminate significant constraints of time and distance, easily explore and expand our knowledge, and engage and deepen our personal and professional circle of influence. Many people have moved to a single smart device to manage all their communication, making it even easier to stay connected with all these resources.
The Downfall of Always Being Connected
At the same time we all have the need to occasionally remove ourselves from the pressures of work. We know that performance requires us to clear our mind in order to return to work with a renewed energy and spirit. In the past, it was much easier to separate ourselves by proximity. Spending time in different places, whether at the beach or in a cabin, allowed us to separate ourselves from the requirements of the job, simply by being away from the demands of work. Now, those demands don’t just happen when we’re in the office, they are constantly with us, conveniently carried in our pocket. Because of our smartphones, separation of time and distance no longer has the impact it once had because we’re constantly connected.
For many, it’s not so easy to simply leave their smart device at home or ignore it. Whether checking in on a neighbor after a storm or just being available to the sitter while out on the town, for many people, unplugging from technology is simply impractical. Unfortunately, when people check these devices for personal reasons, they also happen to see work messages that may demand their immediate attention, thus ruining your attempt at unplugging from technology.
Be Intentional About Your Disconnectedness
Because of this connectedness, it’s crucial to be intentional about your disconnectedness. If you truly want to go off the grid, prepare in advance to make sure matters are taken care of so that you can truly enjoy your time away. No one wants to come back from vacation with 500 critical emails that need to be acted upon, and yet everyone deserves, really requires, down time to reenergize and recoup. If you must check in while you are disconnected, do so with intention as well. You don’t want to randomly check email and learn about a crisis at work just before having a few hours at the theme park with the kids. Why ruin their day too? Instead, plan to check in at a time that won’t disconnect you from your family and your needed down-time. By being intentional before you leave and while you are away, you can feel assured that things will be handled in your absence and you can return to work ready to reconnect.