The great outdoors!
It’s wonderful, isn’t it?
No, we’re not talking about that woodland candle burning right next to your desk or the faint glow of your TV screen on your face at night. We’re talking about actual sunshine, grass, trees and stars. If the most nature you’ve experienced recently is that bird that briefly landed on your office’s window sill, then this blog is for you!
It’s time to unplug. And not just because it’s good for our minds and bodies; it’s also good for business.
We could spend some time telling you about how unplugging decreases stress, improves sleep, gives you a sense of belonging and reconnects you with your friends and family, but we’re going to skip all that. You know it’s good for you. You just don’t know how to pull the plug! Here’s how:
1. Set daily screen limits on your phone.
iPhones are pretty sophisticated for this. You can add apps to a list that need to have limits and you can set limits on those lists depending on what’s stealing the majority of your time (scrolling social media, playing games or texting). It will also show you some historical data on how you use your phone most if you need a little direction.
2. Shut your computer every day at a specific time.
Let’s be honest: working eleven or twelve hours is not productive. Get in the habit of prioritizing your tasks each day and once you hit your specified hour, everything on your list should be pretty low priority. That’s code for “it can wait.”
3. Take an afternoon off every week.
If it’s feasible for your business model, take a workday afternoon off every week. If you can’t swing that, try once a month. Use this day not to run errands for your home or business, but use it to enhance your life or inspire you. These can be activities like reading for professional development, meeting with an old friend, taking a bike ride or a beach stroll, researching new ideas or volunteering your time. Don’t think about your schedule, your clients or your bottom line for the afternoon and see how renewed you feel. If it feels great, try to do it more often.
4. Set up an out of office message or remove email from your phone all together.
Email is wonderful for quickly communicating, but it also comes at a high cost. Whenever we see the notifications bubble pop up or hear the “ping” of a new email, we are likely to move our attention away from what we’re doing and focus on it.
That’s why we suggest removing email from your phone or, if that’s not feasible, to automatically setup an out of office message for the weekend and off-hours. This will automatically notify people who email you that you won’t be responding until business hours and sets an expectation that you will not be available constantly.
5. Get proper sleep every night.
When we can’t sleep, more and more people reach for their phones for stimulation, which then keeps sleep further away from our brains. Try to break this cycle by keeping the phone away from the bed.
Bonus: If you use your phone as an alarm, it will mean that you have to get out of bed to shut it off, which is an effective way to ensure you don’t keep hitting snooze. Ariana Huffington’s startup, Thrive Global, has even created a charging station that looks like a bed so you can put your phone to bed at a certain time every night to avoid the scrolling.
Now that you’ve set yourself up to unplug more often and consistently throughout your work week, let’s talk about fun things to do during those times. We recommend anything that requires using multiple senses or learning new things. Some ideas: bird watching, instrument lessons, cooking new recipes, hiking, swimming, gardening or taking on DIY projects with friends.