Can you disconnect without unplugging?
When I get up in the morning, I check my email from bed. If my colleagues need immediate assistance, I am happy to respond via text. I will respond immediately. I don’t always have my phone on me, but modern technology allows me to respond while I’m on public transport, waiting in line, or taking a break from a meeting. I will watch TV at home with my spouse and answer emails and text messages.
All of these factors add up to a serious need for periodic disconnections and recharges. Hyperconnectivity can leave you feeling exhausted, even if you are not a serious offender like I am.
It’s simple. You could lose your effectiveness if you don’t take a break from time to time. Even if you are aware that you are approaching burnout, it might be difficult to unplug. You might panic if you think about turning off your phone for a week straight while on vacation.
And I get it. People depend on us to provide leadership and answers. There are ways to disconnect but not completely unplug.
Put your resources to use
You can either create funnels for communications of lower priority or delegate simpler tasks and tasks to other members of your team. Designate a second in command or point of contact if you are able. This person should be able to determine the importance of each matter that comes through your door (or inbox).
You can change your voicemail to indicate that you are not available and a time or date when you will return calls. If you plan to surf the internet, turn off instant messaging or make them invisible.
Your most productive hours should be set aside
It doesn’t mean that it’s not your time. You can create calendar markers to mark the blocks of time when you are most productive. You can also choose blocks of time that you are most productive during. You can also go out for lunch during this time. Get away from the computer. Do something else.
You are essentially jolting your body and mind from its daily routine. This can help you to be more creative or give your life a lift. You’ll feel more motivated to work when you return.
There is an app for that
It shouldn’t surprise me that I recommend that you use technology to your advantage. Technology should make our lives easier. In this instance, I recommend that technology be used to make you more productive and harder to work.
Anti-Social is a site-blocker program that you can install. You can also search for browser extensions like StayFocusd Chrome or LeechBlock Mozilla Firefox. You should also block social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. You should add these sites to your shopping list if you are a shopper.
iPhones running iOS 6 or higher now have “do NOT disturb” settings. This allows you to muffle calls and alerts, except those that come from your whitelist. Android users can easily locate similar apps like Nights Keeper and Do Not Disturb.
These tools can only be as useful as you make them. You can steal some offline time if you create a list of distracting websites and remember not to disturb.
Sometimes you have to leave work by a certain time. What if you only need to leave the office by a certain hour? Remember that personal time is for a reason. You are not required to share your reasons. Your effectiveness and well-being are enough to make it worthwhile to leave the office on a timely basis.
Know your boundaries and set expectations when you are away from the office. If you don’t need your email notifications, turn them off and let others know.